Football: Laporte back in training with Manchester City

Laporte celebrates scoring a goal for City in May 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER, England (REUTERS) - Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte is training with the first team again after knee surgery in September, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday (Jan 3) without setting a date for the Frenchman's match return.

Guardiola told reporters ahead of Saturday's home FA Cup third round game against fourth tier Port Vale that the 25-year-old's recovery was progressing well but more time was needed for match fitness.

"He trained with the team for 10, 15 minutes, the rest individually and he is getting better," said Guardiola.

"He feels good and in the next few weeks he will complete all training sessions for us.

"He will dictate (when he returns). How he feels. He was four months out."

Premier League champions and FA Cup holders City have slipped to third in the standings, 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.

City did not replace departed captain Vincent Kompany over the close season and with Laporte out, Guardiola has had just two senior centre back options in John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

Otamendi missed City's New Year's Day 2-1 win against Everton due to sickness and will also miss Saturday's match.

"Tomorrow he won't play but in the next days he will be in the squad again," said the Spaniard, who added that Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson was recovered after also missing the Everton game due to illness.

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