- Premier League
Richards could be back by December
Manchester City defender Micah Richards could return to action by December, after manager Roberto Mancini revealed Richards' knee injury is now expected to keep him out for "one month maximum".
The full-back was initially ruled out for up to four months with a knee injury he sustained during City's victory over Swansea City at the end of October, but Mancini said on Friday that further evaluations had improved the prognosis.
The 24-year-old could now be available to the Italian by the start of December.
"I read three months but I don't know why," Mancini said. "I think maybe in three or four weeks [he can return]. One month maximum.
"He didn't do his meniscus. He only had two stitches in his knee. So it is good for us."
Richards missed the start of the season after sustaining an ankle problem on Olympic duty with the Great Britain team and was only making his fourth appearance of the season against Swansea.
With the England international sidelined, City were without all three of their right-backs in the closing stages against Swansea.
But Mancini confirmed that Pablo Zabaleta is fit to return against West Ham on Saturday while Javi Garcia, out for a month with a thigh problem, is also available for the trip to Upton Park.
However, Maicon and David Silva are both still absent, with Mancini suggesting they could be in contention to face Tottenham next Sunday.
"We have recovered Javi and Zaba," he added. "Maicon and Silva are working. They need another week or 10 days."
While Sir Alex Ferguson said it could be a three-horse title race between the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea, Mancini believes five clubs are in contention. "I think also Tottenham and Arsenal can win the title," he said.