City suffer Nastasic injury blow
Manchester City have suffered a defensive blow ahead of the new season following confirmation centre-back Matija Nastasic faces six weeks on the sidelines.
The Serbia international was carried off on a stretcher after suffering an ankle injury in last month's Barclays Asia Trophy final against Sunderland on a rain-sodden pitch in Hong Kong.
The club have confirmed the 20-year-old is likely to be out of action for between four and six weeks.
That means he could miss the first month of the Barclays Premier League campaign, which begins with Newcastle's visit to the Etihad Stadium on August 19.
An article on the club's website, www.mcfc.co.uk, read: "An ankle injury is expected to keep Matija Nastasic sidelined for four to six weeks.
The defender was stretchered off in the Barclays Asia Trophy final win over Sunderland at the end of last month."
City are already down on defensive numbers from last season following Kolo Toure's move to Liverpool on a free transfer.
Nastasic made a huge impression last term after arriving from Fiorentina on August transfer deadline day.
After unexpectedly making a full debut against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu Stadium in the Champions League, he went on to establish a regular presence in the back line alongside captain Vincent Kompany.
As a result England international Joleon Lescott, outstanding during the 2011-12 title-winning campaign, appeared to fall down the pecking order.
Nastasic's absence could now give Lescott, 30, a chance to reassert his credentials in a World Cup year.
City's other defensive options are limited with Holland Under-19 international Karim Rekik having joined PSV Eindhoven on loan.
Belgian Dedryck Boyata, who has not played for the club for two years after loan spells at Bolton and FC Twente, is an alternative having been given a chance to impress in pre-season by new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
In spite of that, City have been linked with possible defensive targets, most notably Real Madrid's Pepe.
The news on the striking front is more encouraging with Sergio Aguero set to return to full training before the end of the week.
The Argentinian is yet to feature during City's pre-season programme because of a knee injury.
Fellow forward Edin Dzeko has scored four goals in pre-season while new signing Alvaro Negredo was on target against Bayern Munich last week.
City face Arsenal in their final pre-season friendly in Helsinki on Saturday.