Sergio Aguero could return for January match against Tottenham after Manchester City striker's calf injury is not as bad as first feared

Manuel Pellegrini had admitted that the Argentinian could miss up to eight weeks, but the latest results suggest that is a worse case scenario and he could return at the end of January

Manchester City have received an injury boost with the news that Sergio Aguero could return to action before the end of January after his calf injury appeared not as serious as first feared.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted on Tuesday that the Argentinian striker could miss up to eight weeks, having limped off early in the second half of the 6-3 victory over Arsenal last Saturday. However, it now seems that the 25-year-old could return sooner than first thought with the eight-week absence deemed a worst case scenario by City’s medical staff.

The news comes as a major boost for their Champions League aspirations as they prepare to take on Barcelona in the last 16, with the first leg due to take place on February 18.

Aguero is currently City’s top goalscorer this season with 19 in all competitions, and his partnership with summer signing Alvaro Negredo has seen Pellegrini’s side turn the Etihad Stadium into a fortress to be feared, winning all eight of their league matches so far and scoring 35 goals in the process.

City hope to have a much clearer path of Aguero’s recovery within the next three weeks, but they remain optimistic that he will be strutting his stuff on the pitch once more within six weeks – and possibly in time for the trip to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham on January 29.

Aguero was joined in the treatment room by his fellow Argentine Pablo Zabaleta after the 28-year-old was forced off in the League Cup quarter-final victory over Leicester City on Tuesday. The defender faces up to a month on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring, and leaves Pellegrini without a recognised right-back to select with Micah Richards already ruled out.

Dedryck Boyata, Aleksandar Kolarov and Jack Rodwell could all stand-in for the injured duo when City travel to Fulham on Saturday, but midfielder James Milner could also be deployed in a role he is willing to cover.

“I hope that’s not the case [that Zabaleta is out for a month], but if I’m asked to do it, I’ll do that,” Milner said following Tuesday’s 3-1 victory. “Dedryck came in at Leicester and he’s a great young player – he’s got everything, he can defend well, he’s quick, he’s good on the ball.

“It’s down to the manager. If he gets the nod I’ve got every confidence in him. I think he’s a really good young player and he’s got a massive future ahead of him. I’ve never started a game at right back for City, but I’ve filled in, so we’ll see what happens.”

Fresh from his man-of-the-match performance against Bayern Munich in which he scored the match-winning goal, Milner was dropped for the visit of Arsenal, but the England international accepts that squad rotation will be key with the Manchester side competing for four different trophies this season.

“We’ve got a great squad, all the way through,” explained the 27-year-old. “The last three games we’ve played, we have had three very different teams each time and got good results. It shows the quality we’ve got and depth and how well you have to play when you get that chance.”

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