Goalkeeper Joe Hart to return for Manchester City

Goalkeeper Joe Hart to return for Manchester City

Joe Hart will return for Manchester City as they face the latest barometer of their Champions League progress against Paris Saint-Germain.

England goalkeeper Hart has made a quicker than expected recovery from a calf injury and is set to feature in the first leg of City's last-eight tie at the Parc des Princes.

"Joe has worked without any problems in the last days," said manager Manuel Pellegrini. "Of course you always have a risk, especially when you are coming back from an injury, but we made all the medical tests with Joe and he doesn't have any problems to play."

Hart's return will bolster confidence in a back line that is again missing captain Vincent Kompany through injury.

They will need to be on their mettle as they face a powerful PSG side spearheaded by the irrepressible Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart to return for Manchester City

The Sweden striker has scored 30 goals in 26 Ligue 1 appearances this season and four more in the Champions League but City defender Eliaquim Mangala is confident he can stand up to the challenge.

The 25-year-old France international, who is returning to his home city, said: "I respect PSG, I respect Zlatan, (Edinson) Cavani and (Angel) di Maria, but I am not scared of them."

Mangala himself has had a troubled campaign, albeit one affected by hamstring injuries, and is still to live up to the £42million fee that City paid for him in 2015.

He said: "I have been out for two-and-a-half months but I am playing now and it's up to me to perform. As a game it is very important for me and the team."

The match is City's first appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals and also provides an interesting measurement of their progress against another club operating on a similar model.

Much has been made of the parallels between City and PSG with both having been propelled towards the European elite by the vast expenditure of investors from Gulf states.

The wealth has brought Abu Dhabi-owned City two Premier League titles and facilities that are the envy of Europe, while Qatar-funded PSG have established almost total domestic dominance in France.

In European competition terms, however, it is PSG that so far have the edge with this tie being their fourth successive quarter-final appearance.

Mangala said: "If we look at what PSG did on the European scene they are a bit ahead of us.

"But their project is to go as far as possible and one day win it, and we have the same ambitions or to do even better, so it's up to us for compete with what they have done."

PSG coach Laurent Blanc hopes his side's extra experience at this level can give them the edge but he is taking nothing for granted.

Blanc, who ended his playing career at Manchester United, said: "At such a level in the competition the details are important and maybe the experience we have gathered might be positive.

"But I have the impression the media and the supporters of Paris Saint-Germain think this is an easy draw. Let's not get into that.

"I gave a speech to the players where I said do not listen to people who are saying that, they don't know anything about football."

More in this Section

McCarthy makes changes ahead of Derry clash this SundayMcCarthy makes changes ahead of Derry clash this Sunday

Emile Heskey chased down street as child in racist incidentEmile Heskey chased down street as child in racist incident

Average Arsenal have little left to play for this seasonAverage Arsenal have little left to play for this season

Frustration grows for clubs as fixture gap loomsFrustration grows for clubs as fixture gap looms


Lifestyle

The Cork-led band played a superb gig in Dublin, writes Ed Power.REVIEW: The Murder Capital, Vicar Street

Lack of physical activity also causing disturbance of children’s sleep patterns.Under-fives suffering lack of sleep from extended screen time, doctor says

Kya deLongchamps despairs over the simple ways we can wreak havoc on our property's valueHow we vandalise our own homes

With the housing crisis, renovating a run-down property is worth considering if you have the inclination, time, funds and a good team of contractors around you, writes Carol O’CallaghanBehind the scenes in The Great House Revival

More From The Irish Examiner