Pep Guardiola remains unsure when captain Vincent Kompany will return for Manchester City.
The influential Belgium defender has been out since August with a calf injury sustained while on international duty. It is the latest in a long line of muscle problems to have dogged the 31-year-old’s career in recent years.
Guardiola reported in mid-September that Kompany had returned to training and it was thought he could be close to fitness, but no comeback has yet materialised.
The situation is now unclear with Guardiola vague on the subject when asked at his preview press conference for the Premier League leaders’ home clash with Burnley this weekend.
Guardiola said: “He is not ready, not yet.” Asked if he knew when he might be fit, he shook his head and said: “No.”
One player who is back in contention, however, is striker Sergio Aguero. The Argentina international has made a rapid recovery from the broken rib he suffered in a car accident in Amsterdam three weeks ago.
The 29-year-old has been a substitute for the past two games against Stoke and Napoli but was not risked. Featuring against the Clarets on Saturday would give him the opportunity to equal the club’s goalscoring record of 177.
Guardiola said: “I think the game against Stoke it was just one training session. He could have played but was not completely fit. But the game against Napoli he was ready and of course he is ready for tomorrow.”
Left-back Benjamin Mendy is out until April with a knee injury. The Frenchman had impressed on the field following his summer move from Monaco and, despite being sidelined, he remains the centre of a lot of attention now.
The 23-year-old has attracted a large following on social media because of his colourful posts with his references to City as the “shark team” particularly capturing the imagination. Inflatable sharks and shark costumes are now being seen in increasing numbers at the Etihad Stadium on matchdays.
Guardiola said: “Usually with long injuries players are sad and train apart. Sometimes they feel isolated. But in the case of Mendy he has decided to be present through social media. I said very many times he is important important inside the pitch but very important outside the pitch.
“People like him make the atmosphere in the dressing room much better.”
City have been in outstanding form this season and have scored 39 goals in 12 games in all competitions. They have dropped just two points in the league and scored 29 goals in their eight outings.
After last week’s 7-2 thrashing of Stoke, the Clarets are not widely expected to pose too many problems but Guardiola is wary of a side unbeaten in six.
He said: “I have a lot of respect for what they have done. What they do, they do really well. It’s complicated to attack them because they are physically strong. We have to try to be dynamic.”
Source: By PA Sport Staff