City duo expected to face Toon
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expects Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany to return from injury in time to face Newcastle on March 30.
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Aguero has been struggling with a knee injury and Kompany has been out since January after suffering a calf problem in the FA Cup fourth-round victory at Stoke.
"Sergio is in Argentina but he will come back on Sunday," said Mancini.
"Vincent is not in our plans for (Saturday). But I think he will be ready for the Newcastle game, like Sergio."
Mancini tried to inject some humour into proceedings by sporting a red nose, in recognition of Red Nose Day.
However, the City boss accepted Kompany's injury has proved rather more serious than initially believed.
"It is difficult," said Mancini. "Vinny is a really important player for us and now it is 45 days he has been out. It is a big problem."
It hardly helps City this weekend given they are facing Everton, who have proved a difficult opponent to overcome in recent times.
The Toffees have won five of the last seven games between the pair, and drew at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season.
"Every game against Everton is very hard," said Mancini. "They are a top team who always play at 200 per cent. They have good players and a good manager."
Mancini believes his side can reignite the title race by cutting Manchester United's Premier League lead before next month's derby.
Mancini has refused to concede defeat despite the champions falling 12 points behind United a month ago and being given no opportunity by their rivals to reduce the deficit since.
The Italian is relying on favours from elsewhere but is determined to pounce on any United slip-ups in the two rounds of fixtures before the sides meet at Old Trafford on April 8.
Mancini said: "The next two or three games will be crucial. If they lose a point in the next two games - maybe. After the two games, we have the derby. But it all depends on us. When you are behind you should win every game.
"We hope we can play a derby with nine, seven points, maybe 10. Less than 12 would be better.
"From the derby to the end of the season, they have three or four difficult games."
City will get the chance to apply some pressure to United as they are the first in action this weekend. City take on Everton at Goodison Park at Saturday lunchtime before United face struggling Reading at Old Trafford in the evening.
With Aguero missing, Carlos Tevez, scorer of six goals in his last four games including a hat-trick against Barnsley last week, could again lead the attack.
That would be just days after the Argentinian was charged by police with driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.
The 29-year-old could face a prison sentence if found guilty but Mancini has no issues with selecting him this weekend.
Speaking at a press conference, Mancini joked: "The police didn't stop Tevez yesterday. This is the problem for tomorrow - because if they stop Tevez, tomorrow Tevez can score three goals!"
On a more serious note, he added: "If he did a mistake, I think it is correct because everyone should respect the rules, but I don't think it is a big problem (for selection)."
Meanwhile, Mancini has rejected speculation that he will take over as manager of Zenit St Petersburg at the end of the season.
"It is cold here I think St Petersburg is (colder)?" he laughed. "It is absolutely not true."
And Mancini also rejected the theory of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that a lack of English representation in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 1996 was a massive "wake-up call" for the Premier League.
"Last year Chelsea won it and this year English football has three teams in the quarter-finals of the Europa League," said Mancini.
"For three or four years English teams have won, or been to the final. For one year, other teams have done it.
"When I read this thing about English football being down I thought it was stupid.
"It is impossible to win every year. This reaction is like Italy where if you win one game you are the best team and if you don't it is a disaster.
"This is football. If every year the same teams win, football would be like other things. Football is good for this. Every year things can change."