Erling Haaland will “hopefully” be available to return to action against Burnley at the end of January after six weeks out with a foot injury.
The 23-year-old has not featured since Manchester City’s loss to Aston Villa on December 6, missing his side’s last nine in all competitions, after fracturing a bone in his foot.
Pep Guardiola said Haaland is now pain free and could be in contention for minutes during the Premier League fixture against Burnley on December 31.
“In Abu Dhabi (during warm weather training) and here in the last 10 days, he doesn’t feel any (pain),” Guardiola said. “When he came back after two or three sessions and felt some disturbance, that’s why we were a little cautious after we waited a long time and in December he couldn’t play for a long time.
“We tried to avoid but now he feels good, we’ll give him three or four days and hopefully he can play against Burnley, he can play his first minutes.”
Before being sidelined, the Norway striker had featured in 22 of City’s 23 matches in all competitions this season, only sitting out the Carabao Cup third-round loss to Newcastle United.
Guardiola denied suggestions the injury demonstrates City need to to be more careful with Haaland, citing the fact the injury was to the bone and not muscular.
“It was a bone (injury),” he continued. “In the end, we thought it was a bit less but in the end it was a little bit of a fracture of the bone and the bone is not a muscular issue that you can do a little bit (of work) and comeback.
“When you have this injury it’s a question of time, people say six to eight weeks, it is six to eight weeks. It is not about how much you work or whether you go to Adu Dhabi or not. The bone needs time to close, to make his procedure and now it’s at the end, it will be eight weeks now, almost two months this or next weekend, in the process he feels good and now he needs time to take the rhythm and start to give him minutes when he will be fit.”
City return to action on Friday against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup fourth round.
(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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