The right-back is set to give Roberto Mancini's struggling defence a timely boost as he returns to full training to step up his recovery from an ankle injuryEXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Micah Richards has returned to full training at Manchester City and is targeting a first-team comeback after the international break.
The 24-year-old has been on the sidelines since injuring his ankle playing for Great Britain in their quarter-final Olympics defeat to South Korea.
But Goal.com has learned that he is training fully with the first-team squad and is set to be available for selection for City’s trip to West Brom on October 20, which is among the first round of Premier League fixtures after the international break.
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Richards’ imminent availability will provide a welcome boost to Roberto Mancini following City’s stuttering start to the season.
The Premier League champions have conceded 16 goals in nine matches this season and were only saved from a heavy defeat at the hands of Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night by an exceptional display from goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Speaking last week, Richards said he was “about two more weeks” from a first-team comeback following an injury he called “quite a bad one”.
His return will provide Mancini with an option on the right side of his defence, even though there is increased competition following the deadline day arrival of Maicon from Inter.
Richards believes his versatility strengthens his hand, especially as Mancini has varied his formations on a number of occasions this season.
“The manager's been playing a 3-5-2 system so there's more chance I'm going to play if he goes with that,” Richards said.
“But if he plays 4-4-2 it's going to be me, Zaba [Zabaleta] and Maicon battling it out for the right-back position.
“I don't mind as I've had competition here all my life. I've been here seven years and I'm still going, so a little bit of competition just makes it a little bit better. I just can't wait to get back and get playing to show everyone what I can do all over again.”
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