LONDON (Reuters) - Carlos Tevez could make his return for Manchester City as they aim to revive their Premier League title hopes on Wednesday at home to a resurgent Chelsea, who will be without captain John Terry.
The 28-year-old Tevez is back in training after patching up his differences with the club and manager Roberto Mancini said the Argentine striker could be involved as a substitute.
Mancini’s side have seen Manchester United open up a four-point lead at the top of the table and Tevez’s availability would be a boost to their dream of winning the English title for the first time since 1968.
”There is a possibility (of a place on the bench),“ Mancini told reporters on Tuesday. ”He is getting better but I don’t think Carlo can have more than 25-30 minutes.
”A player like Carlo needs to play but for 90 minutes it is impossible. But if he can play 30 minutes, after that 45, then in three or four games he could have 90 minutes easily.
“Tomorrow we will decide. We want to know the situation with the players.”
Tevez has not played for City since refusing to warm-up during City’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich in September -- after which Mancini said he would never play for the club again.
He was fined six weeks wages for a subsequent unauthorised absence but after withdrawing an appeal against the club’s disciplinary measures, he has since apologised and has scored for the reserves as he recovers his match fitness.
Chelsea go to City buoyant after qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals and the FA Cup semi-finals as well as closing the gap on third-placed Tottenham.
Terry, who recently had knee surgery, was substituted during Chelsea’s dramatic Champions League victory over Napoli last week and will not be risked against second-placed City.
“We almost have a fully fit squad for the City game, only (Oriol) Romeu and Terry are out, JT should be back for Spurs match on Saturday,” Di Matteo said at a news conference.
With City and leaders United well clear of the rest, fifth-placed Chelsea are vying for a top-four finish with Arsenal and Tottenham.
They are three points behind Arsenal and four behind Tottenham, who have lost their last three league matches.
While Saturday’s game against their London rivals is being seen as potentially pivotal in the battle to qualify for the Champions League, Di Matteo is focused on City.
“We need to prevent Man City from expressing themselves, they have quality players all over, from defence to attack,” Di Matteo said.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Mark Meadows