Carlos Tevez set for Manchester City reserve outing

 

Carlos Tevez appears poised to make his return for Manchester City in a rearranged reserve fixture tomorrow.

City have officially confirmed a Central League Cup clash against Preston that was due to take place at Chorley FC on Wednesday has been brought forward 24 hours and will now be staged behind closed doors at their Carrington training ground.

The understanding is it will take the spotlight off Tevez who last Tuesday apologised "sincerely and unreservedly" for his conduct in recent months.

That followed his return to the club after three and a half months in exile in the wake of his fallout with manager Robert Mancini in a Champions League tie with Bayern Munich at the end of September.

Tevez's "wish to concentrate on playing football for Manchester City Football Club" will lead to his fitness being assessed in the reserve outing with Preston.

The change of venue means the Argentinian and the club can focus on the game and his form without the media glare he would almost certainly have been subjected to.

The belief is this Saturday's Barclays Premier League fixture at home to Bolton is too soon for Tevez to make a first-team return, with the likelihood instead being the game at Swansea on March 10.

Even a fit Tevez, however, will find it difficult to force his way back into the picture given the form on Saturday of the other trio of strikers blocking his path.

Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko all made their case for remaining in Mancini's side with a goal apiece in a 3-0 home win over Blackburn to take their tally this season to 39 between them.

City coach David Platt has made it clear Tevez will simply be another piece in the jigsaw.

"The strikers have all had a threat to their place all season," said Platt in the Manchester Evening News.

"I don't think there's been one occasion when all three have been on the pitch at one time.

"So there is a threat to their places anyway, just as there is a threat to everybody else's place in the team.

"When we've everybody healthy there are people going in the stand that could get into most teams in the Premier League, and we have a rotation of the squad.

"As and when Carlos is back, he'll add another number to that."

PA

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