MANCHESTER, England — Benjamin Mendy is back in the squad for Manchester City’s trip to Burton Albion with Pep Guardiola set to name a strong lineup despite leading 9-0 from the first leg.
The French defender has been out for nearly two months with a knee injury but returned to first-team training last week.
Guardiola confirmed that Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden will among the senior players to start the game to maintain their match fitness while a number of Academy players will be on the bench, potentially alongside Mendy.
“Some players that need rhythm are going to play and the guys who have a lot of games in their legs are going to rest,” Guardiola told a news conference.
“Players who need to play, who haven’t played lately, or have come back from injury are going to play.
“[Mendy] is in the squad, he will travel with us. [On the bench] maybe.”
The £52 million signing from Monaco has made just 16 Premier League appearances since his move from the principality 18 months ago with City being forced to use midfielders Fabian Delph and Oleksander Zinchenko as makeshift stand-ins.
Mendy, 24, has still contributed five assists this season and Guardiola believes he adds something extra to his side when he is fully fit.
“The results in the last two years say [we have missed Mendy] not too much but I miss him a lot,” Guardiola added.
“I have a feeling he can give us something extra and hopefully in the last part of the season and in the future of the club we can use him.
“He pushes from outside on the left and is unstoppable. In the last third he’s so clever, it’s not cross just for coursing, it’s clever when he does these kind of actions.
“But in one-and-a-half seasons, he’s played very few times and with the talk, the training, the pracitice, he was not there. He will need time to adjust to what we need.”
But teenagers Rabbi Matondo and Tom Dele-Bashiru are set to miss out with contract offers from the club remaining unsigned, sources have told ESPN FC.
Matondo, who has already made his debut for the Wales national team, is coming back from injury but is yet to sign a new contract at the club amid interest from the Bundesliga.
The winger is into the final 18 months of his contract and looks unlikely to sign an extension, sources say.
Dele-Bashiru, meanwhile, made his first-team debut in the competition but is in the final six months of his current deal with no sign of an agreement being reached.
The Manchester-born midfielder is able to speak to clubs about a move at the end of his current contract. Serie A side Atalanta are among the clubs interested.
Young players Eric Garcia and Aro Muric are also likely to start with the rest of the Academy players on the bench.