• FA Cup

Zabaleta confident of swift return after knock

ESPN staff
January 21, 2013
Pablo Zabaleta is confident he will be fit for this weekend's FA Cup clash at Stoke © PA Photos

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Manchester City have been handed a boost with the news that Pablo Zabaleta should be fit to play in Saturday's FA Cup tie at Stoke after a scan revealed his foot injury is not a major problem.

The Argentina international limped off in the Premier League champions' 2-0 win over Fulham following a challenge by Brede Hangeland.

But while the right-back was in pain, he is optimistic he will be able to play in the rematch of the 2011 FA Cup final.

He told City's official website: "Thankfully, the scan showed there was no serious damage. I should be fine for Saturday but it will be a couple of days before it is 100% again.

"I did some bike work on Monday morning and on Tuesday I will try some running so I'm sure I will be available for the game against Stoke."

With City's two other specialist right-backs, Micah Richards and Maicon, both out, the in-form Zabaleta has been an automatic choice for manager Roberto Mancini and James Milner had to drop into defence when he was substituted against Fulham.

Zabaleta added: "I took a kick on the top of my foot which caused me a lot of pain afterwards and that's the reason it was better that I came off. It looks better, but there is a little discomfort when I walk or run so it is a bit sore and needs to settle down a little."

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