City boss face selection dilemma
Gareth Barry, Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli face fitness tests ahead of Manchester City's trip to Stoke.
City chief Roberto Mancini is preparing his squad for a tough trip to the Britannia Stadium, where he has yet to taste victory since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2009. And the Italian is waiting to see if a number of his first-team stars can overcome injuries which have sidelined them for varying amounts of time. Barry, who has yet to feature this season following hernia surgery in the summer, is back in training but might not be deemed fit enough to start against the Potters, while Zabaleta should be fit despite suffering with a tight hamstring while on duty with Argentina. Balotelli should be fit after laser eye surgery and Aguero has been back in training this week after recovering from the knee injury he suffered in City's opening match against Southampton on August 19. But Mancini might opt to hold him back with one eye on City's opening Champions League group game against Real Madrid on Tuesday. Late transfer window arrivals Javi Garcia and Maicon could be set to make their debuts at some point, but 19-year-old Matija Nastasic is unlikely to be thrust into the game as it will no doubt be deemed too physical for him to get a first taste of English football. Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner have returned unscathed from international duty with England and will be vying for a start. Vincent Kompany is set to partner Lescott in the heart of defence after his World Cup qualification double-header with Belgium.