Kidd - Johnson close to return

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Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd has revealed midfielder Michael Johnson now just needs games to compete for a first-team place at Eastlands.

The former England Under-21 star has endured a miserable time with injuries for virtually three years after breaking into the City side under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"Michael has had a tough time but has come on leaps and bounds in the last two weeks," revealed Kidd. "He has done really well and the next couple of weeks will be interesting."

He added: "I was at the reserve game against Bury and he was terrific. He is looking really good in training as well.

"What he is looking for now are the games which will give him a quickness you can't really get from training."

Johnson will clearly not be involved in the FA Cup fourth-round replay as City look to overcome League One outfit Notts County and book a last-16 clash with Aston Villa.

Yet, if some who are looking at reinvigorating the world's oldest domestic cup competition have their way, such games would be a thing of the past.

Scrapping replays are one of the ideas up for debate, along with midweek ties and a late afternoon kick-off for the final. Whether any of these alterations could bring some added shine to the FA Cup is debatable though.

"The FA Cup was a fantastic occasion. People say you are old fashioned and times have changed but it was a memorable day," said Kidd. "Every supporter in the land watched the FA Cup final. It wasn't just if your team was there. You had the brass band, the singing, the white suits. It was fantastic. I suppose the modern ones don't want that now do they?

"If I am honest, it has a bit to do because football has changed dramatically and the FA Cup has been diluted a little bit."

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Manchester City
League One
Michael Johnson
Premier League
Aston Villa
Michael Johnson
FA Cup
Notts County

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