Manchester City could have Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling in the squad for this weekend’s trip to Tottenham as they all battle back to full fitness.
Aguero has played just 178 minutes of football in the past four months but is stepping up his recovery from a hamstring injury he suffered in last month’s 1-1 draw at West Ham, which forced him to be substituted at half-time.
The 32-year-old has been training alone but is expected to take part in sessions with the first-team squad this week.
Aguero missed the first five games of the season as he recovered from a knee injury that ruled him out of last season’s Premier League run-in and the Champions League mini-tournament in Portugal in August.
City have been without a recognised striker for much of the campaign with Gabriel Jesus suffering a groin injury in the opening game against Wolves.
The Brazilian returned just before the international break, scoring against Olympiacos and Liverpool before heading back to South America for World Cup qualifiers.
Fernandinho is also moving closer to a return after training alone last week following a leg injury suffered in the 3-1 Champions League victory over Porto a month ago.
City were severely hit by injuries and illness during the opening weeks of the season with Pep Guardiola unhappy about a lack of pre-season and enhanced risk of injury.
They are close to having a full-strength squad although they suffered a couple of setbacks during the international break.
Sterling missed England’s friendly with the Republic of Ireland and the Nations League clash with Belgium as a precaution after feeling a muscle twinge in training.
He is also likely to miss Wednesday’s game with Iceland but could potentially be back for Saturday’s clash against Spurs with the injury thought not to be too severe.
However, Nathan Ake is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury playing for the Netherlands.
The 25-year-old, who joined from Bournemouth in the summer, has returned to Manchester for treatment with no timescale yet on his return.
Title rivals Liverpool have suffered a major injury crisis in recent weeks, losing central defensive pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to knee injuries while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson have suffered muscle injuries.
Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp were united before the international break that the players needed more protection and that the football schedule should be looked at.
“My business is to protect my players. It’s all I want, to be fit, no injuries. When they arrive to the training sessions, they are exhausted,” the City boss said.
“LeBron James won the NBA title and now he is on holiday for one, two, three months. These guys [footballers] have eight days, two weeks and after games, games, games.”