Manchester City’s involvement in the League Cup final against Sunderland has prompted the Manchester derby to be switched to March 25, which will suit Manuel Pellegrini’s men perfectly.
The match was scheduled for March 1, the day before the League Cup final, meaning one of the biggest fixtures of the season would have to be pushed back as City and Sunderland battle for the first piece of silverware this season.
The rescheduled fixture suits City because they will receive a boost in the form of Frenchman Samir Nasri.
Nasri has been one of City’s most consistent players this season so it was a real blow when he picked up a knee injury against Newcastle United.
The player himself confirmed on January 13 that he would be out of action for around eight weeks, which means a potential return date of around March 15; the away game at Hull City.
Nasri won’t go straight back into the side because he needs to build up his fitness levels and match sharpness, which will naturally dip for all the time he’s in the treatment room.
City have another fixture after the Hull game and before the Manchester derby, on March 22 at home against Fulham.
That provides two potential fixtures for Nasri to be used as a sub and to get back to a level where he’d be a sure fire bet to start against United over a risk in terms of Pellegrini having to use a partially fit midfielder.
The re-scheduling has worked in City’s favour and it’s the perfect motivation for Nasri to ensure that his recovery stays on track so he can potentially return to the starting side for the massive Premier League clash.
image: © Brad Tutterow