REUTERS – Manchester City’s injured captain Vincent Kompany will return to the team ahead of schedule, but will miss Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final against Everton, manager Manuel Pellegrini said on Tuesday.
City’s influential Belgian centre-back has endured an injury-plagued season, with his latest setback ruling him out of action since Dec. 26.
Kompany’s return from a persistent calf injury in two weeks instead of six will come as a relief to a team who always seem to struggle defensively in his absence.
City have kept clean sheets in seven of the nine Premier League games that Kompany has featured in this season, compared to just four in 14 without him.
“I don’t think Vincent will be out for six weeks — he will return in a couple of weeks,” Pellegrini told reporters.
“We are doing all we can to review Vincent in different places with different doctors. I hope that now when he comes back he will be fit until the end of the season.”
The Chilean also confirmed that Joe Hart would be replaced by back-up keeper Willy Caballero against Everton and that the Argentine would retain his place for Saturday’s FA Cup clash at Aston Villa.
Everton go into the semi-final with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, but Pellegrini is confident his side have what it takes to secure the 1-0 home win that is the minimum needed to see them through to Wembley.
“It’s the third time we’ll play Everton in one month — we know their team,” he said.
“The most important thing is to try to play another final at Wembley. That is our target. After we lost to Everton 2-1, I said that if we don’t qualify for the final, it’s not because of that game but because we can’t win at home at least 1-0.
“Maybe Everton haven’t been in a final for many years and they will be motivated but our team will do all they can to get there too,” Pellegrini added.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)