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Vincent Kompany

Kolarov and Kompany boost Manchester City for Sunderland trip

3:33 AM GMT+4 04/03/2017
AleksandarKolarov - cropped
Pep Guardiola hopes to be able to call on two more key players at Sunderland after the defensive duo returned to training

Manchester City are set to enjoy a double defensive boost for the Premier League trip to Sunderland, with Aleksandar Kolarov and injury-plagued captain Vincent Kompany set to be in contention.

Kolarov missed City's high-scoring triumphs against Monaco in the Champions League and Huddersfield Town in an FA Cup replay due to a hamstring complaint.

Europe's Team of the Season so far

Centre-back Kompany, who was initially expected to play a part in the fifth-round tie against the Championship side, remained on the sidelines after an unspecified leg injury proved to be the latest frustrating setback of a nightmare couple of years on the fitness front.

"Kolarov is fit, yeah," said Guardiola, who has regularly deployed the career left-back at the heart of defence in Kompany's absence this season, at a pre-match news conference.

"I think it must not be easy for Vincent, I understand completely. Last time [he got injured] in the training session it was nothing, it wasn't serious like before.

"Yesterday [Thursday] he trained with us. Since the previous injury it was a month or a month and a half being fit.

"He didn't play because of my decision but he was fit. Hopefully he will be able to help us in the last two or three months of the season." 

One man fit and firing on all cylinders is top scorer Sergio Aguero, who struck four of City's 10 goals in their back-to-back cup triumphs to move on to 22 for the season.

The Argentina striker's future has been an ongoing source of intrigue since the emergence of the now-injured Gabriel Jesus left him on the bench at the start of last month.

After seeing off Huddersfield 5-1, Aguero maintained his stance that he will discuss his future with City at the end of the season.

Guardiola hailed the 28-year-old's best display under his management and was reluctant to be drawn any further on a recurring theme of his media briefings.

"I spoke 10 times about that, you know my opinion," he said in a terse exchange.

"I cannot answer at every single press conference about Sergio Aguero. He is so happy, I am so happy, we are so happy."

City beat Sunderland 2-1 thanks to a late Paddy McNair own goal on the opening day of the season, a victory that started an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Some indifferent form followed, including heavy defeats at Leicester City and Everton, although Guardiola's men have won six and drawn two of their eight games since losing 4-0 at Goodison Park, hitting free-scoring form in the process.

Aguero in dark over Man City future

"We have had good moments and not so good moments," Guardiola added, with his team third in Premier League ahead of the weekend fixtures.

"We are in a good moment now. We are creating more chances and are scoring more goals. This is what we have to continue.

"Our decisions are much, much better. I think the team is much better, it makes me more confident.

"At Manchester City you have to expect to win every single game and if you don't a storm is coming."