Manchester City hit by injury

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Micah Richards is set for another month on the sidelines with the ankle injury the Manchester City defender picked up on Olympic duty for Team GB.

Richards suffered the problem during the recent tournament, and the City manager, Roberto Mancini, expected him to recover in time for Sunday’s Premier League opener with Southampton.

However, the 24-year-old’s recovery has not gone quite as well as planned. “I think it will be three or four more weeks,” said Mancini, who also confirmed that Gareth Barry remains on the sidelines with the abdominal problem that forced him to miss the European Championship. However, Joe Hart could be fit after missing last Sunday’s Community Shield victory against Chelsea and England’s win over Italy with a back problem.

“Joe will train with the team tomorrow, then we will decide,” said Mancini. He was accompanied at his pre-match briefing by the club’s new signing Jack Rodwell, who expressed his determination to meet the challenge provided by the additional pressure of his move from Everton.

However, it was another new arrival that has been the talk of Manchester over the past 24 hours as Robin van Persie looks to tie up his move to United from Arsenal and the City manager is certain the Dutchman will improve his major rivals. “Robin van Persie is a really top player and the best striker last year,” he said.

“With Wayne Rooney they will have one of the best couple of strikers in the Premier League. Any team that bought Van Persie would be better and I was serious last week when I said Manchester United were the favourites.

“They have been playing for the title every year for 20 years. We can’t change this situation in one year.”

It was felt Mancini wanted to sign Van Persie himself, however, he claimed it was not a realistic possibility.

“I felt he was going to stay at Arsenal or sign for another team, but not us. We already have four strikers. It was impossible for us to sign another one.” – Guardian (UK)