Brazil international Robinho is unlikely to return to action until next month, according to Manchester City manager Mark Hughes.
The 26-year-old, who continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona, has suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury.
The former Real Madrid star has missed City’s last seven games with a stress fracture of the ankle and his replacement, Craig Bellamy, has shined in his absence.
It had been hoped that Robinho would have recovered in time to make his comeback in next week’s Carling Cup clash with Scunthorpe United but now faces another fortnight on the sidelines.
“He’s had a setback and the likelihood is that it’ll be nearer to ten to 14 days,” confirmed Hughes.“The area where the stress is hasn’t healed as quickly as we first anticipated.
“He could probably join in with the group but the fear is that if he got a direct bang where the stress fracture is then obviously there’s a chance he may re-break the leg.
“So we don’t want to put him in in those circumstances, it would be crazy, so we’re going to err on the side on safety. We’ve got options and it’s important that we don’t put him at risk.”