Manchester City have been handed a huge boost ahead of next week's crucial Champions League date with Bayern Munich after Vincent Kompany returned to training.
City's captain has been absent since picking up a calf injury against CSKA Moscow and was forced to sit out the 2-2 draw with QPR.
The knock also meant he missed Belgium's Euro 2016 qualifying draw against Wales, but he could be back in contention as soon as Saturday, when City play host to Swansea.
With City currently eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea, Manuel Pellegrini will hope to have his inspirational leader back in his team as soon as possible, although he may prioritise Tuesday's fixture.
The Champions League has been cruel to City so far this season, and having taken just two points from their first four games they need a positive result against the German giants.
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Despite having only just returned to training, Kompany looked fighting fit as he took full part in City training on Thursday, even sliding in on midfielder Fernando during one exercise.
The initial prognosis suggested Saturday's game would come far too soon for the defender, while he'd face a race against time ahead of the Bayern clash.
However, in keeping with his committed style of play, the 28-year-old has battled hard to return to fitness quicker than expected.
In Kompany's absence, Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis formed a less than convincing partnership against struggling QPR, with the latter netting an unfortunate own goal.
The duo have taken it in turns to partner Kompany at the heart of the defence this season, with Pellegrini seemingly yet to decide on his preferred central defensive pairing.
One thing that is clear for all to see is that City are a much weaker side without their skipper, and Kompany's return can't come soon enough.
There was more positive news for Pellegrini, as David Silva was also back in training, albeit a light session for the Spaniard.
A knee injury picked up against Newcastle has kept Silva out of City's last three games, and his creative talents have certainly been missed.
Although Saturday will come far too soon, the talented attacker could be in contention for a place in Pellegrini's matchday squad come Tuesday.
However, Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov are definitely out of both fixtures, with calf injuries likely to keep them on the sidelines until next month.
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