City stars close on comeback

Milner could make the bench against Kiev, but Johnson won't be rushed

Milner: Over hamstring problem

Milner: Over hamstring problem

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Roberto Mancini is looking forward to welcoming James Milner and Adam Johnson back into his first-team plans.

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The Manchester City boss has been forced to cope without the services of the England pair over recent weeks, with injuries leaving both on the sidelines.

Milner has not featured since a 13-minute outing against Fulham on 27th February, with a persistent hamstring problem plaguing him for the last two months.

The versatile 25-year-old is closing on a return, though, and Mancini admits he could be involved in City's Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev on Thursday.

"James is not 100 per cent, but he has worked with us for the past week and probably he can go on the bench tomorrow," said the Italian.

Nigel de Jong is another hoping to be involved in midweek as City look to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit.

The Dutchman came through 83 minutes of the Blues' FA Cup victory over Reading on Sunday, but felt a twinge towards the end of that game and will be assessed ahead of the Kiev match.

On the midfielder, Mancini said: "Nigel, after Reading, I hope is feeling very good. He had a problem with his ankle."

While Milner and De Jong are already back in contention, wing wizard Johnson remains some way off a first-team recall.

Impossible

The 23-year-old has missed two months with an ankle injury and Mancini admits it would be foolish to throw him back into action too soon.

"Adam has been working with the team for four days," said the City boss.

"It would be very difficult for him to play.

"Maybe it is better for him and us that he continues to work, it is impossible for him to play again after only four days."

Mancini is delighted to have a number of key men returning to his squad, with Milner and Johnson vital to City's hopes of securing silverware this season.

"We were very unlucky in the last month because we lost three or four important players," said Mancini.

"Adam is the only player for us who can change the game. We don't have another player like him.

"James is an important player because he can play in every position - in the middle, as a winger.

"I hope all these important players will be available after the international break."

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