Manchester City v Newcastle United: Bony and Toure boost champions
Wilfried Bony will be available to make his long-awaited Manchester City debut when the Premier League champions welcome Newcastle United on Saturday.
Ivory Coast international striker Bony moved from Swansea City to the Etihad Stadium in January on the eve of embarking on a successful Africa Cup of Nations campaign with his country.
Manuel Pellegrini keenly felt the absence of Bony's countryman Yaya Toure, as City failed to win for four league matches and were dumped out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough before a 4-1 win at Stoke City.
Toure is expected to slot straight back into the starting line-up against Newcastle, while Bony will compete with Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic for a place alongside top scorer Sergio Aguero as City boss Pellegrini enjoys the rare pleasure of selecting from his full complement of attacking options in a season regularly undermined by injuries to key personnel.
Bony trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Monday and is realistic enough to accept that his first action in a sky blue shirt could come from the substitutes' bench.
"It's not easy because I've just arrived from Africa and I will have had five days of training before we play Newcastle," he told City's official website. "I have to take it step by step and wait for the right opportunity to present itself.
"I'm not 100 per cent just yet and as I say, I've only just arrived so we will see. I still have another couple of days of training but I need to take things step by step.
"If I am needed, I have a good record against Newcastle and I've scored three goals in two games against them.
"They are a good side and are strong at the back but they are coming to our stadium and we need to win this game."
Newcastle secured a deserved 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium to end City's League Cup defence earlier in the season and another positive result for the north-east club could appear similarly fatal to their hosts' Premier League challenge, as leaders Chelsea sit seven points ahead with 13 matches remaining.
"We need to win as many games as we can because we need to make up seven points on Chelsea," Bony added.
"There are a lot of games to go and everything can change. We still believe and we'll be doing everything we can to close the gap."
Newcastle could be without Paul Dummett for the rest of the season after he injured his knee cap in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last time out.
Dummett's absence means head coach John Carver heads to Manchester with captain Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Daryl Janmaat and Massadio Haidara as his only fit senior defenders, while Remy Cabella (knee) is a doubt.
Nevertheless, Carver remains in confident mood and told his club's official website: "We are going there knowing that we are playing against a good side, but we are not going to be fearful because we've proved that we can go there and get a result."