Hughes back Richards over 'assault'

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has offered Micah Richards his full support after the England defender was arrested over an alleged assault.

The 20-year-old was questioned by police yesterday after the alleged attack on a man in Hale, Greater Manchester, at around 12.30am on Christmas Eve.

Hughes has, however, suggested Richards could even figure in Saturday's home game against Middlesbrough.

When asked whether the defender was in the right frame of mind to be considered for selection, the Welshman replied: "Absolutely."

He added: "We are very supportive of Micah. He went to the police station in a pre-arranged appointment.

"It is an ongoing situation; we are aware of that and we are supportive of him."

Richards has been bailed until April.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "A 20-year-old man has been arrested after an 18-year-old man was assaulted in Hale at about 12.30am on December 24 2008.

"The alleged incident happened on Ashley Road.

"The man was arrested by appointment on suspicion of (a) Section 47 assault on Wednesday, February 4.

"He has been bailed until April 8 pending further inquiries."

Richards, who joined City from Oldham as a 14-year-old, signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with the club in February last year.