Injured Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte is set to make his first appearance since August when the Sky Blues host Fulham on 26 January.
The Frenchman suffered knee ligament damage in his team’s 4-0 defeat of Brighton in gameweek four of this season’s Premier League, leading to five months on the sidelines. His absence has had a sizeable impact on the club’s title challenge, with Pep Guardiola’s men now 14 points behind Liverpool at the top of the table.
He had an outside chance of making Saturday’s top-flight meeting with Crystal Palace at Etihad Stadium. However, the club’s medical staff advised Guardiola to give the centre-back more time to reach full fitness, delaying his return by a week.
The Sky Blues have played 31 matches without Laporte, while fellow Citizens star Leroy Sane hasn’t been seen since the penalty-shootout victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield.
Laporte and Sane were integral to the side’s successes in 2017/18 and 2018/19, the duo playing 98 matches between them last season as Guardiola’s men secured the domestic treble, making them the first English club to do so.
They should both be available for the EFL Cup final on 1 March, assuming City avoid a collapse in the second-leg of the semis, having beaten Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford in their first game.