The Manchester City manager, Mark Hughes, has identified Jo, his returning Brazilian Olympian, as the side's possible saviour when they attempt to avoid an early Uefa Cup exit tonight. City face the Danish side FC Midtjylland in the second leg of their second qualifying round tie in Herning, trailing 1-0 after a defeat at home.
"He trained yesterday for the first time back with the group," Hughes said yesterday. "He looked sharp, like he had enjoyed the experience [in Beijing], and we hope to tap into that. He's a good player, an exceptionally talented young man and he's a good option for us".
The England defender Micah Richards could make an immediate return to action in tonight's tie despite being hospitalised with concussion on Sunday. Richards was knocked out during City's 3-0 Premier League win over West Ham after a clash of heads with his team-mate Tal Ben Haim.
Aston Villa's left-back Nicky Shorey has been ruled out of their second-leg meeting with Iceland's FH Hafnarfjordur at Villa Park. The former Reading defender nicked a medial knee ligament during Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Stoke, although he is expected to be fit for Sunday's League game with Liverpool. The Villa manager Martin O'Neill is set to ring the changes, with players such as Marlon Harewood, Zat Knight and Craig Gardner also set to be given starting places. The Midlands club hold a 4-1 lead from the first qualifying leg.
Gareth Barry's agent, Alex Black, has stated that the England midfielder will stay with Villa rather than make a late move before the transfer window closes. Liverpool have been eager to sign Barry this summer but have been unwilling to match Villa's £18m valuation.
Black said: "After much speculation I can confirm that Gareth will not leave before the transfer window closes. Gareth made the decision to stay two weeks ago and informed Aston Villa of his intentions. Any talks regarding potential new contracts at Villa will not take place until the end of the season."Reuse content