On Tuesday night, we saw a mix of youth and experience shine in a 2-0 win over Preston North End.
However, after finishing fifth place in the Championship last season, Barnsley will almost certainly pose a bigger threat to Pep Guardiola’s side.
It will be a pleasing sight for the Catalan boss that a few more familiar faces have returned to the City Football Academy after enjoying an extended summer break following their international exploits over the summer.
As the Blues prepare to take on Barnsley in their final pre-season fixture, here’s all the confirmed team news…
Additional First-Team Stars Return
A fantastic boost for the start of the season, let alone in pre-season.
The star pairing of midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko have returned to training after their excursions at the European Championships this summer.
Following Manchester City’s hard stance on Sporting defender Nuno Mendes, the Ukrainian is expected to be the club’s number one left-back option for the coming campaign. After showing immense work rate and patience during his time at the Etihad so far, it looks like the 24-year-old is finally getting his chance.
Ilkay Gundogan will also be looking to build on his unusually high goalscoring campaign of last season – a season where he was voted within the PFA Team of the Year.
Expect both men to play a part in the game on Saturday evening – and most likely from the start, if Tuesday’s team is anything to go by.
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Romeo Lavia’s time to shine?
One of a few players that are expected to play an increased part in the first-team this season is rising defensive midfield prospect, Romeo Lavia.
Reports earlier this summer suggested that working closely with club captain Fernandinho – who recently signed a one-year contract extension – will immensely improve the youngster’s overall game over the course of the next 12 months.
After missing out on the game against Preston North End with a minor injury, Romeo Lavia returned to training late this week.
Tommy Doyle recovers from his ‘knock‘
James McAtee and Samuel Edozie were just two members of the youthful second-half team that throughly impressed against Preston North End on Tuesday night.
There were however some notable admissions from the squad, including the exciting striker talent Liam Delap – with City Xtra revealing this week that the teenager is currently walking around with a protective boot on his right foot.
The other player was Tommy Doyle – who was confirmed before the game to be struggling with a ‘minor knock’.
Luckily for Manchester City fans, it looks like the talented midfielder could be back available tomorrow night, after posting the below image from his Twitter account.
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