Roque Santa Cruz is in line to make his debut in next month's Manchester derby.

The Paraguayan striker joined City this summer in a £17million deal but has been unable to play after undergoing knee surgery in April.

Santa Cruz is itching to get started for his new employers - who overcame Barcelona 1-0 in a friendly at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night.

And, while Hughes is reluctant to put a timescale on the 27-year-old's availability, the September 20 showdown with Sir Alex Ferguson's men at Old Trafford is a possibility.

"We are talking about two or three weeks," Hughes told www.mcfc.co.uk.

"I don't like to put games as a target because it is difficult to predict but the specialist is really pleased with his progress and I imagine he will be available around the time of the United game, or the West Ham match immediately afterwards."

And Santa Cruz could be joined on the comeback trail by Vincent Kompany, who is also ready to return after having surgery to correct a toe problem.

"Fitness-wise there is no problem because he is a good, dedicated professional," said Hughes.

"As soon as he gets the green light he will be back very quickly.

"There is a little way to go but he is progressing well."

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Roque Santa Cruz