March 2, 2018 / 4:48 PM / in 4 months

Soccer: Mendy on the mend with Manchester derby on his mind

(Reuters) - Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy is recovering ahead of schedule from a knee injury and hopes to return to action in the Manchester derby in April, the 23-year-old said on Friday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City vs Crystal Palace - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - September 23, 2017 Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy in action REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files

France international Mendy suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee as City defeated Crystal Palace 5-0 in the Premier League in September.

After surgery and more than five months out of the game, Mendy is targeting a return in time for the blockbuster clash at the Etihad Stadium.

“The Manchester derby is a realistic aim. That’s half clear in my mind. I really want to play that game,” Mendy told the club’s website (www.mancity.com).

“When I started my recovery, I had in mind the semi-finals of the Champions League... but I’m coming back a bit quicker than expected originally.”

Mendy is also confident of returning to full fitness in time for the World Cup, which kicks off in June in Russia.

“After I return, it’s on me to impress. I have to make sure I come back well and to keep the rhythm. Before it (World Cup) was one of my targets, but now I know it will be fine.”

League leaders City take on champions Chelsea on Sunday.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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