Manuel Pellegrini revealed that Lukasz Fabianski and David Martin are both in a race against time to be fit for the Boxing Day Premier League fixture at Crystal Palace.
The goalkeepers are hoping to be available as they work their way back from their respective hip injuries – Fabianski’s suffered at AFC Bournemouth in September and Martin’s at Southampton on 14 December.
The manager was giving nothing away when asked if one, both or neither would be fit to face the Eagles at Selhurst Park on Thursday.
Lukasz is looking well. He’s working a little bit harder every day
“Both of them are recovering,” he said. “We will see in the next day what happens and which of them is able to play. I don’t think Lukasz or David are able to play two games in 48 hours because they have had some muscle problems.
“We will see tomorrow and Wednesday which one will be able to start the first game.
“The chances are all – both can be missing, both can be [available to be] playing. We will see in the next two days. It will be very important to have the medical decision, the players’ decision and of course my decision.”
Fabianski, of course, wants to help his team make it back-to-back Premier League wins, but both the player and his manager will not rush the Poland international back into action after three months on the side-lines.
“It’s not easy decision – not just a medical decision, but a technical decision, medical decision and the obviously the player’s decision how confident he is to play after so many months without playing one game,” he
“He’s looking well. He’s working a little bit harder every day so if he’s not ready for the game on 26 December, maybe he will be ready for 28 December or 1 January, but in one week he will be playing.”
Should neither Fabianski nor Martin be deemed fit to face Roy Hodgson’s side, Roberto could return to action, and Pellegrini backed the Spaniard to perform if called upon in south London.
“I think Roberto did not have a good performance when he played, but I always say that he has a career behind him, and he is a player who has a lot of experience,” he continued.
“Maybe he was a bit unlucky or he felt [it was his first experience of the] Premier League but I continue trusting him and I am sure, if he needs to play, he will play in the way we know he can.”
Elsewhere, Pellegrini confirmed that Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson should both be available for the trip across the River Thames after recovering from a shoulder injury and illness respectively.
“Lanzini has been working without any problems for around ten days,” he explained. “He is able to be 100 per cent fit. He had a problem in his shoulder and not a muscle injury, so maybe it’s easier for him to return.
“Felipe worked the complete week without any problem. He was ill for the last game.
“Jack Wilshere continues with some pain in his groin, so he is not working with the squad, and Winston [Reid] is mixing, working one day and the other day recovering.”