Belfast Telegraph

Lampard may face Chelsea again

Frank Lampard's final match of his loan spell at Manchester City could be against his old club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on January 31.

Lampard scored a dramatic equaliser for City in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Sunday but it has now emerged he could also be available for the return fixture.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that a decision on Lampard's move to New York City FC will be taken in January - the club's inaugural MLS season does not start until March - meaning the former England midfielder could have an emotional return to Stamford Bridge.

Pellegrini told a news conference: "Frank will stay until January because until January he doesn't have anything to do in the United States because they are not working. In January, we will see what happens here and make a decision. It is not a problem in this moment.

"It (his goal) was important because it was the goal that allowed us not to lose that match."

Lampard could start for City when they begin the defence of their Capital One Cup in the third round against Sheffield Wednesday at the Etihad on Wednesday, and without a win in their last four games City could do with a confidence-boosting victory.

Pellegrini, however, insists fortune has not been on City's side in recent matches.

He added: "First of all, we were very unlucky not to win one of those games but of course when you don't win, you have some problems you must improve.

"But [am I] worried about the team? No, because I think we are not playing bad. Especially in the games against Arsenal and Chelsea we played really well.

"Maybe against Bayern we didn't play the 90 minutes in the way I like the team to do it but it is not easy to play against Bayern away. We didn't do a bad game. But it is important for us to start getting three points in every game."

Pellegrini also played down reports of City being interested in signing Everton's midfielder Ross Barkley.

He said: "I don't talk about rumours. We are not trying to bring anyone to our squad at this moment. We have an important restriction on money and the amount of players we can have in our squad. I don't know where the news comes from but for here in Manchester City it is not a problem at this moment, we have the squad. I am not looking at any other players."

Pellegrini will urge his players to treat Sheffield Wednesday with respect, as they are coming off a good run and City were victims to Championship opponents in the FA Cup last season, when Wigan won at the Etihad.

He said: "When you play against a Championship team it is very difficult, the motivation is not the same and they always try to come here and win. Last season, we were eliminated here in the FA Cup against Wigan, a Championship team.

"We won the Capital One Cup last year and we hope tomorrow we can start in the same way we played in the competition, conceding I think just one goal [en route to the final] and winning all the games.

"Sheffield Wednesday have lost just one in the last 10 games, they but I am sure the team will be conscious of what we have to do if we want to continue in the Capital One Cup."

Pablo Zabaleta is suspended for the game while minor injuries will keep out Sergio Aguero (bruised knee) and David Silva (ankle).

Samir Nasri (groin) could be out for a week while striker Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) and midfielder Fernando (groin) are still recovering from injuries.

Pellegrini may unleash teenage forward Jose Angel Pozo against Wednesday.

Much has been expected of the 18-year-old Spaniard since he left Real Madrid for the Etihad in early 2012 but after a promising start at the club injuries interrupted his progress last season.

Pozo has returned to full fitness for the start of this season however and scored last week as City's under-19 side trounced Bayern Munich's 4-1 in the UEFA Youth League.

His goalscoring prowess saw him finish as top scorer in City's under-21 team in the 2012-13 season and his pace and technique have seen him catch Pellegrini's eye.

The City manager said: "Pozo is in the squad - we will see on Wednesday if he will play."

Pellegrini is likely to rest Joe Hart and give Willy Caballero his debut in goal after his summer move from Malaga, while Dedryck Boyata and Matija Nastasic may also start.

The City boss added: "Willy Caballero will have one or two games in a row because he's a keeper and needs to play also."

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