Man City V Reading at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview
Man City V Reading - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Virus sidelines Balotelli
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli will miss the champions' Barclays Premier League clash with Reading this weekend after suffering from a virus.
Captain and defender Vincent Kompany (groin) is hoping to prove his fitness while midfielders James Milner (hamstring) and Gareth Barry (suspension) return.
Forward Samir Nasri (hamstring) will miss the game and the Boxing Day trip to Sunderland while defender Aleksandar Kolarov (knee) is also out this weekend.
City take on the bottom sidem hoping to follow up last weekend's impressive 3-1 win at Newcastle.
Reading have won just one of their opening 17 games and face a tough battle to avoid relegation but Mancini is not complacent.
He said: "We're playing against a team like Reading with only nine points and people say they will be relegated, but it will be a difficult game.
"I watched them against Everton - when they beat Everton - and against United when they lost 4-3.
"Up front they are very strong. Maybe they concede goals but we need to play like against Newcastle if we want to win the game."
The victory at Newcastle was a strong response by City after having their unbeaten record ended by rivals Manchester United the previous week.
Mancini, whose side still trail United by six points at the top of the table, said: "It was important because it was a tough game.
"Newcastle is usually difficult. After our performance against United I was sure we would play a good game against Newcastle.
"I didn't know if we could win or not but I think we played very well."
City hope captain Vincent Kompany can prove his fitness after a groin injury to return while midfielder James Milner is also available after a hamstring problem.
Reading striker Jason Roberts will miss out with a hip problem.
Jem Karacan (knee), Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Danny Guthrie (thigh) should be available, but Sean Morrison (ankle) is still sidelined.
Alex McCarthy is out long-term after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Boss Brian McDermott is fearing the worst but is not giving up hope of causing a shock.
He said: "We know what we're coming up against but anything is possible in football.
"We're going to the champions and I'm looking forward to the occasion.
"I want our players to perform to the best of their ability and give ourselves every opportunity."
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