Manchester City were handed an early Christmas present earlier today, as Stevan Jovetic returned to training ahead of the Boxing Day clash with West Bromwich Albion.
City have been forced to play their last two games, against Leicester City and Crystal Palace, without a recognised striker thanks to a growing injury crisis at the Etihad Stadium.
In the absence of the injured trio of Jovetic, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, youngster Jose Angel Pozo and midfielder James Milner have been left to fill the attacking void effectively as false nines.
Pellegrini gets an early Christmas present
But Manuel Pellegrini's false nine experiments could come to an end after Jovetic took part in an open training session at the club's new state of the art City Football Academy.
Fans were invited in to the new multi-million pound facility to watch their heroes train, although there was no sign of captain Vincent Kompany who's still nursing a calf problem.
Casualties have been commonplace for City
Jovetic was last seen as a late substitute against Roma in City's season-changing win before becoming victim of a hamstring strain that kept him out of the last two games.
Dzeko was also present in Rome, starting the game and making it through 78 minutes on his first start since returning from a previous injury.
Having got through that game unscathed it seemed the Bosnian would lead the line for City while Aguero was out, but the big striker limped out of the pre-match warm up at Leicester, giving Pellegrini a huge late selection headache.
Perhaps the biggest loss of them all, though, is that of leading scorer Aguero, who suffered knee ligament damage in the home win against Everton on December 6.
The 14-gaol striker lasted just two minutes before making a tearful exit, and early prognosis suggested he'd be out for up to six weeks.
The Beat allowed to move on prematurely
Last season City had more depth up top, with Alvaro Negredo giving Pellegrini a fourth striking option.
However, despite netting 23 league and cup goals in his debut season in Manchester, the Spaniard was sent on loan to Valencia on deadline day.
The surprise move was said to come about as Pellegrini had to implement a reduced Champions League squad as part of the sanctions placed on the club for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
Hawthorns trip may come too early
Having only just returned to training, the WBA game may come too soon for Jovetic, but it does give his boss a huge boost ahead of the busiest time of the footballing year.
City face four games in just 10 days between Boxing Day and the FA Cup 3rd round tie with Sheffield Wednesday on January 4th.
Although Milner, and then David Silva, done a job as a make-shift centre-forward against Palace, Pellegrini will be desperate for a fit striker for the run-in.
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