Aguero poised to return in cup

City's Gabriel Jesus lying on the ground after breaking a bone in his foot against Bournemouth. He could take two to three months to recover.
City's Gabriel Jesus lying on the ground after breaking a bone in his foot against Bournemouth. He could take two to three months to recover.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jesus out so Pep may deploy Kun instead of Iheanacho ahead of clash with Monaco

LONDON • Pep Guardiola faces a double selection quandary as he prepares for an FA Cup fifth-round visit to in-form Championship club Huddersfield Town today.

The Manchester City manager, still active on three fronts as he seeks silverware in his first season in English football, will be without injured Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, who broke a metatarsal in this week's league win at Bournemouth.

The talented teenager, who had scored three goals in as many league games since his January arrival, may not play again this season, with estimates putting his rehabilitation at two to three months.

Jesus has been flown to Barcelona to undergo treatment with Ramon Cugat, the City manager's physician of choice who has overseen the rehabilitation of a number of the club's players this season.

But Guardiola's decision on Jesus' replacement is complicated by the Champions League last-16 first leg with French club Monaco at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

The manager must decide whether to recall Sergio Aguero - and run the potential risk of an injury ruling the Argentinian out of the European game - or recall Nigerian understudy Kelechi Iheanacho who, despite a prolific scoring record, appears to have fallen out of favour with Guardiola in recent weeks.

ONE OF MY KEY MEN

I know how important Sergio is. I did yesterday, the day before, the last week, the last month.

PEP GUARDIOLA, on Sergio Aguero's important role, with teenage sensation Gabriel Jesus unlikely to play again this season.

Aguero appears likely to win the battle for selection and be granted his first start since Jesus broke into the first-team picture with an exhilarating appearance when he came on as a substitute against Tottenham on Jan 21.

After the victory over Bournemouth, Guardiola acknowledged the important role he expects Aguero to fill over the remainder of the season.

"I know how important Sergio is," the manager said. "I did yesterday, the day before, the last week, the last month."

Guardiola has fielded strong line-ups in the FA Cup previously and the game also appears a perfect opportunity for captain Vincent Kompany, who started the fourth- round win at Crystal Palace, to continue his comeback from injury.

Huddersfield will be without their influential Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy, who is on loan from City and forbidden by FA rules from playing against his parent club in the competition.

Huddersfield manager David Wagner, who has led his club to within four points of automatic promotion to a top flight where they last played in 1972, admits he will rotate his squad with a place in the Premier League far more important than a possible place in the sixth round of the Cup.

"We didn't do it only in the Cup, also since the beginning of December when we started our rotation," he said. "It doesn't matter if we win or lose, it is if it makes sense for the next game and we will probably make changes against City."

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HUDDERSFIELD V MANCHESTER CITY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Aguero poised to return in cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe