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Pep Guardiola reveals latest Man City injury blow ahead of Aston Villa test

Pep Guardiola said John Stones has to feel fully fit if he is to make his Manchester City comeback as he added Nathan Ake to his defensive injury list.

The Netherlands international will miss Wednesday’s game against Aston Villa, along with captain Kyle Walker and goalkeeper Ederson.

Stones was on the bench for Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal after his abductor injury proved less serious than Guardiola initially feared but he is unsure if he will be able to face Unai Emery’s team. Stones has had an injury-hit season and the City manager is reluctant to risk him if he is not comfortable.

The centre-back came off in the opening minutes of England’s 2-2 draw against Belgium last week and Guardiola said: “He has to feel fully, fully fit. The injury was less than we expected but we will see. John maybe [could be involved] but the other two [Walker and Ederson], no chance.”

Guardiola is not yet sure if Ederson will be fit for Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace but seemed to believe Ake is unlikely to be available for next week’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

“Hopefully he will be back soon,” he added. “I don’t know exactly the timing but the next games he will not be ready.”

Villa beat City 1-0 in the Midlands in December in a match when they had 22 shots and Guardiola admitted: “[It was] the only game we deserved yes, yes to lose the game.”

One of Villa’s star players this season has been midfielder Douglas Luiz, who City signed in 2017 but were never able to pick as the Brazilian did not then qualify for a work permit in the United Kingdom.

He instead went on loan to Girona before joining Villa in 2019 and Guardiola said: “I am so happy for him. He is an exceptional guy. For the work permit, it was not possible to be with us.”