Carlos Tevez may return from Manchester City’s pre-season tour of South Africa without any competitive football, with his bruised heel threatening to rule him out of the final match in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Tevez aggravated the bruising when he undertook his first training session in the Kings Park stadium on Monday evening and though it is not a serious problem - City’s medical staff would have patched him up with a pain killing injection for a competitive match - Mark Hughes is weighing up whether he wants to take any risk. The squad were in transit from Durban to Johannesburg yesterday and did not train but Hughes will have a better idea today of the player’s readiness.
The injury is a frustration to Hughes and to the club – who know that a few more big names would take City closer to the kind of big attendances which Manchester United brought to the Vodacom Challenge last season. But he has a balancing act on his hands. “We are hoping it will settle and it would be great to give him the opportunity to play," HUghes said on Tuesday evening. "If our new players are fit, they will play. We do not want to compromise our players if they are not ready. However we would like to present them in the final.”
Hughes also has his mind on his outstanding transfer targets – any two of Chelsea’s John Terry, Everton’s Joleon Lescott and Arsenal’s Kolo Toure. The sentiment emerging from the United States, that Chelsea have rising hopes of keeping the England captain, has not engendered any pessimism around the City contingent and there is optimism that the many positive signals which they have received about Terry’s readiness to make the move will translate into a transfer. It is felt here that the next week will be decisive where the move for Terry is concerned.