Rodri could miss FA Cup tie after grandmother’s death

By Sports Desk January 05, 2024

Manchester City could be without midfielder Rodri for Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Huddersfield following the death of his grandmother.

The Spaniard has been granted compassionate leave and is currently back in Madrid.

Manager Pep Guardiola says the player has not definitely been ruled out but he seems unlikely to feature as the holders begin their defence of the trophy in the third-round tie at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola said at a press conference: “Rodri, unfortunately, his grandmother passed away yesterday and he is in Madrid. Today and tomorrow he will not be here.

“Hopefully he will come back for the game but, if he needs to stay, family issues are the most important thing.”

Guardiola has also revealed a number of his players have suffered from fever this week and are also doubtful.

He said: “Four players have problems. Bernardo (Silva), Scotty (Carson), Kalvin (Phillips) and Matheus Nunes are, like many people at this time, suffering.”

The match could give Kevin De Bruyne the opportunity to get some minutes as he continues his comeback from a hamstring injury but Guardiola insists the Belgian will not be rushed.

De Bruyne, who was an unused substitute for last week’s clash against Sheffield United, has not played since August.

Guardiola said: “Kevin has been (out for a) long time so we have to be patient and give the right minutes for him.

“It was a big injury. What I am concerned with the most is to try and avoid a repeat. This is what we have to be careful with.”

Star striker Erling Haaland and winger Jeremy Doku are still out after injuries but are nearing a return.

Guardiola said: “For Erling, it’s a bit better. He has done two training sessions and he feels good.

“They are improving. I don’t know for Sunday, I don’t know for Newcastle, but for the rest (of the games) they will be ready.”

Defender John Stones is City’s other notable absentee with an ankle injury.

Guardiola said Jack Grealish’s state of mind was improved after a burglary at the England international’s home over Christmas.

Thieves reportedly stole jewellery worth £1million after breaking into the midfielder’s Cheshire mansion while his fiancee and members of his family were present.

Guardiola said: “He’s much better. He’s had time to fix so it won’t happen again and the burglars have to know that there is no more jewellery at home.

“Our chief security man is handling it with Jack, his family and his (fiancee). They’re impacted, which is normal. When you’re at home and you have people come inside, it’s scary.”

The January transfer window is now open but Guardiola would give no clues as to any potential arrivals or departures.

Asked specifically about Phillips, whose future has been the subject of speculation, Guardiola said: “I don’t know, I don’t talk about the transfer window.

“I don’t know if we are going to sign 10 players, get (rid of) 10 players. Maybe one – I don’t think it will happen, but you never know.”

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