Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is a major doubt for the derby against Manchester United after suffering a recurrence of a calf problem which has already kept him out for swathes of the season. The Belgium international went off after just five minutes of City's goalless draw with Dynamo Kiev at the Etihad Stadium and could be absence for a significant chunk of the remaining two months of the campaign.
Kompany immediately gestured to the bench after pulling up after winning the ball from Oleg Gusev early in the first half, and was replaced by Eliaquim Mangala. The injury is the 14th fitness problem the 29-year-old has suffered from since 2008 and is the third time he has picked up a calf issue this term.
Central defensive partner Nicolas Otamendi was also forced off in the first half after picking up a dead leg. The Argentina centre-back did attempt to play on after receiving treatment and was replaced by Martin Demichelis for the remainder of the game but he too is an injury concern ahead of the United game.
"Unfortunately for Kompany he has once again a calf problem in his muscle," manager Manuel Pellegrini told BT Sport. "We will see how important it is tomorrow. It is the same injury. Otamendi has an important kick so I am hopeful that he can recover in a couple of days. It is difficult for him [Kompany] because he came back very well, he played six games in a row. Unfortunately for him he can't continue doing that. We'll see how important it is."
The blow raises the prospect of Mangala and Demichelis being partnered at the centre of the city back-four against United, for the first time since the 4-1 drubbing by Liverpool. The absence of Kompany and Otamendi could yet have implications on city's top four prospect and fellow defender Pablo Zabaleta has bemoaned the pair's fortunes.
"It's a shame to have lost probably our two best centre backs," he added. "They have been playing together recently and it was a shame to have lost both of them. We have a strong squad and they do well for the team. We have a group that needs to stick together and we'll see how bad those injuries are. We have two months to recover them and get back to the rest of the season."