Pep Guardiola has confirmed that star striker Erling Haaland is set to return to action when Man City host Burnley at the Etihad on Wednesday.
Haaland has been out of action since December after picking up a foot injury. Hence, he has missed City’s last ten games across all competitions. However, the forward recently returned to training and is now expected to feature against Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.
“Apparently he will be selected,” Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference when asked if Haaland would be available to play on Wednesday.
“[This is] the first time he is back. We have all the squad, we are stronger. Definitely”.
“Erling is an important player for us. Two months out, but he feels good – we have a training session [today], but apparently tomorrow he will be with us.”
Haaland’s return comes at an important juncture in the Premier League title race, with City five points behind league leaders Liverpool with a game in hand. Kevin De Bruyne recently made his return after spending five months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and Guardiola has carefully managed his comeback.
The Belgian’s three appearances since returning have all come off the bench and when asked if he will take a similar approach with Haaland, Guardiola replied: “Kevin’s was muscular with surgery, so it was a completely different approach”.
“Erling’s was a stress on the bone, so a different approach. Step by step.”
John Stones is also in contention to start against Burnley after recovering from an ankle injury, having been an unused substitute in City’s FA Cup match against Tottenham.
Fellow defender Manuel Akanji is also available for selection following a short spell on the sidelines with an ankle issue. “The most important news is almost all the squad are fit. We don’t have injuries – Manu is back, training well he doesn’t feel his knee,” Guardiola said.
“John as well. That is the best news. The important part of season starts now. FA Cup, the Champions League is around the corner and of course the Premier League – it’s important that we have everyone available.”
Following their game against Burnley, City are set to face Brentford on Monday and Everton on Saturday before travelling to Copenhagen for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against the Danish champions.