City wait on Aguero and Silva
Fri, 19 Apr 2013 11:32:00
Ashley Barnes returns to the Brighton squad for Saturday afternoon's visit of Blackpool in the Championship.
The striker has completed the seven-match suspension imposed by the Football Association after he appeared to trip referee Nigel Miller at Bolton last month.
He could go straight back into the team as Leonardo Ulloa has been operating as Brighton's lone forward following season-ending injuries to Craig Mackail-Smith (Achilles) and Will Hoskins (knee).
Manager Gus Poyet has also been boosted by the return to fitness of wingers Will Buckley and Kazenga LuaLua and Spanish right-back Bruno.
Buckley and LuaLua have recovered from the hamstring injuries which have kept them out for the last two matches and Bruno is fit again after a month on the sidelines with a calf problem.
Blackpool boss Paul Ince once again has no new selection problems ahead of the game.
Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne completes a three-match suspension when his team-mates travel to the Amex Arena, while defender Ian Evatt (knee) is a long-term absentee.
Last weekend's goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday means the Seasiders have conceded just once in their last four matches.
Such miserly form at the back means Ince's men are unbeaten in five outings but goal at the other end of the pitch are also proving to be scarce.
On-loan MK Dons centre-back Gary MacKenzie attributes these struggles to the now infamous state of the Bloomfield Road playing surface and is looking forward to his attacking team-mates having the chance to express themselves on the south coast.
"We have players who can express themselves on a good pitch against a good passing team," MacKenzie told the Blackpool Gazette.
"We are all looking forward to Saturday now - we might actually be able to string a couple of passes together."
The Argentinian withdrew as a precaution at half-time of the midweek win over Wigan after feeling tightness in a hamstring.
The problem is not thought to be serious but, along with playmaker David Silva, the Argentinian is doubtful for the game at White Hart Lane.
Assistant manager Brian Kidd said: "Today we will know more about Sergio.
"It was more fatigue than a tear or a strain.
"It was the same with David Silva - it was the length of the game. Normally if a hamstring goes, you tear it early on."
Aguero had been making just his second start since returning from the knee injury which sidelined him for three games last month.
Silva suffered his hamstring injury in the latter stages of the derby win at Manchester United last week and missed both the FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea and the Wigan game.
The Spaniard is close to fitness but may not be risked this weekend in a game important to City's bid to secure second place.
Kidd said: "David has joined in with the group and had a bit of possession in a small-sided game.
"Sunday might be a bit too soon for him."