Robinho unlikely to return until late November

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The Independent Football

Manchester City have been forced to put Robinho through a new regime of treatment on his ankle after being told that he is still another two weeks away from recovery having broken a bone in it.

After two months out of action, the Brazilian will now probably be unavailable before the league match against Burnley on 7 November, and with an international break after that manager Mark Hughes indicated yesterday that he might not deploy the player until the next match against Liverpool on November 21. "The lay off is frustrating the player," Hughes said. "He's frustrated obviously because it's just gone on a little bit too much. We were actually getting him into pressure chambers to bring on the healing process because it's just been a little bit of a setback."

Robinho is able to train with the ball but City feel his susceptibility to a further break makes full training impossible. "If he did get a direct hit he could suffer a fresh fracture and we can't afford for that to happen," Hughes added.

Martin Petrov has seized his opportunity on the left in Robinho's absence and Hughes, whose side entertain Fulham on Sunday, indicated that exploratory talks over a new contract to replace the one which expires this summer are now under way. "We've sat down and talked about a new deal. I'm sure we're going to do something there."

Hughes acknowledged that Petrov, who came close to a transfer deadline day move to Tottenham was "a bit frustrated that he's not playing as many games as he would like. But when he's come into the team he's made an impact, so we're pleased with that. He's in the last year of his contract, that's been flagged up by a number of people, and I'm sure we'll try and do something."