Man City striker Balotelli in doubt for weekend derby

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The Independent Football

Manchester City's Nigel de Jong and Mario Balotelli are both doubts for Saturday's Old Trafford derby, with De Jong having withdrawn from the Netherlands squad with an ankle problem sustained against Birmingham last week.

Neither player underwent full training yesterday, though the absence of most of Roberto Mancini's squad on international duty means full sessions have not been taking place this week. De Jong underwent strengthening work indoors at Carrington yesterday. While Balotelli is undergoing shuttle runs and other drills, the Italian is yet to strike a ball in training and he faces the tougher battle for fitness in the next 48 hours. It will be probably be a judgement call tomorrow as to whether Balotelli is fit for a place on the bench.