Manchester City Star Will Not Face Manchester United

Eastlands star will not make trip to Old Trafford for crunch derby.

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Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is facing an uphill battle to be fit for Saturday’s derby against Manchester United according to City coach David Platt.

The former Inter Milan forward has had a stop-start beginning to his Manchester City career, only making nine appearances, and scoring five goals, since his £24million move last Summer.

The 20-year-old suffered a knee injury last month and has spent two-weeks in America undergoing rehabilitation.

Balotelli has returned to Manchester but first-team coach Platt says the match against the Premier League leaders has come too soon.

Platt said: “He’s not trained much yet. Mario came back on Monday, he’s continued with his rehab and so far so good. It’s certainly not a given that he’ll be on the bench against United.”

The Italian’s injury has denied neutrals the chance to watch a potentially explosive meeting between Balotelli and Wayne Rooney.

Balotelli has made comments regarding Wayne Rooney’s talent claiming the Englishman is not the best striker in the North-West.

He said: “He (Rooney) is a very good player but not the best in Manchester.”

Neutrals had hoped to see these two slug it out and prove who is the best, especially with Rooney showing signs of recapturing his goalscoring form.

But the Blues are not short of options in the attacking area with Edin Dzeko, Jo and Carlos Tevez available to manager Roberto Mancini.

Dzeko is in line for a starting place alongside captain Tevez after City officials negotiated a deal with Bosnia-Herzagovina, allowing the ex-Wolfsburg striker to train with his club teammates instead of travelling to the USA for a friendly clash against Mexico.

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