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Otamendi eyes derby start despite dead leg

Nicolas Otamendi is hopeful of facing Manchester United on Sunday but the Manchester City defender knows he will have to be fully fit to withstand the rigours of a hotly-contested derby.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini was hit with a defensive crisis ahead of the crunch local encounter, with captain Vincent Kompany and fellow centre-back Otamendi departing through injury inside the opening 24 minutes of Tuesday’s Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev.

Kompany has been struck by a calf injury for the fourth time this season and is expected to spend a month on the sidelines, while Otamendi believes he sustained a dead leg before watching back-up defensive partnership Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis help City to a 0-0 draw that secured a 3-1 aggregate win and a place in the quarter-finals.

“I’m very happy to go through,” said the Argentina international. “The injury is very similar to a dead leg injury I have had before – I will have a [fitness] test [on Wednesday].

“The blow wasn’t that serious but it was better not to continue and come off.

“The test, I hope it shows nothing and am hopeful I can be there on Sunday.”

City have won only one of their past five Premier League matches to lie fourth in the table – 12 points shy of leaders Leicester City.

It is a run that has put their prospects of Champions League qualification for next season under threat, with United hoping to close to within one point of their neighbours by winning at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

But Otamendi added: “That is a derby and I will have to be 100 per cent and try to win the Premier League game. It’s a derby, we want to win.”

Wed 16 Mar, 2016
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