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The 24-year-old full-back has been sidelined for the past six months, but he could be set for a dramatic comeback on Monday as Roberto Mancini looks to rest Pablo Zabaleta

EXCLUSIVE
By Paul Clennam

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini could risk throwing Micah Richards straight back into his side for Monday's derby against Manchester United, despite him only just returning from a six-month spell on the sidelines.

The 24-year-old right-back had made just three league appearances prior to undergoing knee surgery at the end of October.

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However, with the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on the horizon, Mancini is mulling over resting Pablo Zabaleta, who has had to play through minor injuries throughout the season in Richards' absence.

The England defender has been back in full training recently, and has outlined his desire to return at Old Trafford more than once.

"I think the Newcastle match [on March 30] will come too soon for me, though I hope to have been training normally by then," Richards told reporters in March.

"Realistically, I’m looking more to the game away to United and then the FA Cup semi-final to be properly involved again."

Sergio Aguero, who has been out for a month with a knee injury, trained at Carrington during the international break and could also be in contention, while Carlos Tevez is set to face his former club despite having to play on with an injury in Saturday's 4-0 win over Newcastle after David Silva had been withdrawn due to injury.

Samir Nasri also picked up a knock in that game, and although there are slight concerns over a niggling ankle complaint, City are confident the Frenchman will be ready for Monday.

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