Manchester City defender Micah Richards has vowed to be fit to face Stoke in the FA Cup final at Wembley on 14 May.
The 22-year-old England international full back missed the memorable semi-final victory over Manchester United after suffering a recurrence of the hamstring injury that kept him out for over a month.
Having self-diagnosed his injury on under-21 national duty, Richards defied the odds of making a speedy return by using an oxygen tent to help accelerate his recovery.
He was set to return for last weekend's Wembley showdown, but pulled up in City's final training session on the eve of the game.
"I was a bit gutted, as I strained my hamstring again on Friday," said Richards. "I was down to play as well.
"I'll definitely be fit for the final. I'll make sure of it.
"It was still a great day and I was just happy for the boys. It was a great event and it was great to be at Wembley and to beat United."
With City on course for Champions League qualification, and the chance to win their first trophy for 35 years, the pressure has been temporarily lifted from Roberto Mancini's shoulders.
Richards praised the squad's recent endeavours, and hailed the 'never say die' attitude instilled by the manager - an approach that is now starting to come to fruition.
"The boys deserve to be there for all the hard work they've put in. There's been a lot of criticism from people saying we're not up to it, but we prove people wrong all the time.
"And they did that again with the performance on Saturday - so long may it continue."
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