Pep Guardiola gives fitness update on three Man City players ahead of Newcastle clash

Manchester City could have a fully-fit squad for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle United.

Pep Guardiola gave a fitness update on Friday on Manchester City trio Stefan Ortega, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte.

Ortega was replaced at half-time in the midweek FA Cup win over Bristol City due to what appeared to be a hand injury, with Ederson coming on to replace him. Meanwhile, Stones has been a longer absence, and the centre-back has not playing since January due to a hamstring issue.

It has left City with just three centre-back options over recent weeks, as Aymeric Laporte has missed the last three games through illness. However, Guardiola seemed to imply all three should be back for this weekend’s clash with Newcastle United.

“They already trained these days. They feel better, much better,” the Catalan revealed. It means City could have a fully-fit squad for Saturday’s game, if all three are back.

Meanwhile, asked for his opinion on Newcastle, Guardiola said the Magpies are the ‘best in the league’ for a number of things. “Incredible. What happened last season and this season, they are making a step forward. It looks like they came to stay here,” he said.

“From what I have seen lately, even the [Carabao Cup] final against [Manchester] United and what they’ve done all season, they're one of the toughest opponents we have until the end of season – for the quality, they can do everything, the experience, the threats, the transitions, the set-pieces, the best in the league, many things. That's why have have been there for a long time this season.”

Eddie Howe also conducted his pre-match press conference on Friday and said Bruno Guimaraes should be available after he picked up an ankle injury in last week’s Carabao Cup final loss.

"Bruno is fine,” said the former Bournemouth boss. “I think he was in a bit of short-term pain but nothing that has impacted his training week. Off the top of my head, there are no other injuries.”

Newcastle head into the game on the back of one win in their last seven Premier League matches and have dropped out of the top four. As for City, Arsenal’s win over Everton means the champions are now five points off the summit.