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The duo are expected to start Saturday's clash at Etihad Stadium, with the Argentine likely to replace Balotelli who has infuriated manager Roberto Mancini

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

Carlos Tevez and Vincent Kompany are in line to start in Manchester City’s crucial Premier League clash against Sunderland on Saturday, Goal.com can reveal.

Tevez played and scored for the reserves in a 6-1 win at Morecambe on Wednesday night and is now considered to be sharp enough to start for the first-team having featured as a substitute in the last two matches.

The 28-year-old returned to action earlier this month following a six-month absence after he fell out with manager Roberto Mancini, and has impressed City’s coaching staff since returning to Manchester.

While the majority of the squad were given two days off at the start of the week, Tevez stayed behind for extra training and hugely impressed with his work ethic.

He is likely to replace Mario Balotelli in the side after the Italian enraged Mancini by gatecrashing an Inter Milan press conference on Tuesday.

Balotelli had been told to keep a low profile during his time off and the furious City boss told the striker to train alone on Wednesday.

As City look to put pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United, they have also been given a massive boost by the anticipated return of club captain Kompany after three weeks out with a calf injury.

The Belgian defender spent the early part of the week in Italy receiving intensive treatment and was fit enough to take part in full training with the rest of the squad on Wednesday.

Injury-plagued midfielder Owen Hargreaves also played in the reserve game at Morecambe but is unlikely to play for City in the title run-in.

Mancini’s side currently sit three points behind United but could draw level with victory over Sunderland ahead of their rivals’ trip to Blackburn on Monday night.

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