Stevan Jovetic should return for Manchester City after a hamstring problem in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at West Ham United on Tuesday evening, with Manuel Pellegrini admitting the striker is frustrated due to his miserable luck with injuries.
After signing from Fiorentina last summer for £22m Jovetic's City debut was delayed until 14 September – a 0-0 draw at Stoke City – due to a hamstring issue and a thigh problem. The forward then suffered two calf injuries – the first ruled him out of the 3-1 home win over Everton, the second caused him to limp off during the 2-0 League Cup extra-time victory at Newcastle United on 30 October, the 24-year-old's last appearance.
With Jovetic in the squad for the trip to the Boleyn Ground, Pellegrini said: "It's an important chance for him to come back to play but I don't think he'll be able to play from the beginning or play 90 minutes."
The manager said Jovetic had been exasperated at his run of ill fortune. "He came here with the illusion of playing in the Premier League," said Pellegrini. "He was a very important player in Italy for Fiorentina and I still believe he will be a very important player for us. [If] he can really start playing often in the next three months and I think he can be the player we hoped he would be."
Jovetic is finding contentment difficult. "It's very difficult to be happy when you're not playing and you have so many injuries but he's conscious that he will be 100 per cent fit and demonstrate why he's here," said Pellegrini. "We are trying every day to give him trust so that his bad luck will finish soon. It's very important that he comes back ambitious and hungry to be an important player here at Manchester City."
Samir Nasi's knee injury, which could make him unavailable for the next six weeks, could enhance Jovetic's hopes of a run in the side. "It's another chance, of course. Stevan can play as a forward or a midfielder. It's a position he played sometimes at Fiorentina. We'll see when he's fit if he can do it," said the manager.
Pellegrini's side are virtually in the final after their 6-0 win over West Ham in the opening leg. Yet Pablo Zabaleta is still preaching caution. "It doesn't matter about the first leg," the right-back said. "We have to go into that game thinking it's a new game – even though we have six goals. We need to try and win it – like we are doing in other games at the moment. We are winning games and working hard. West Ham are in a tough moment, they are at home and will want to win it. So we need to take it seriously and we will."
Zabaleta also dampened down talk of an unprecedented quadruple. "We need to calm down. We know how tough it is to win four competitions," he said. "We are still alive in all of them which is fantastic for the team at this point in the season. We will try to win all of them but we don't need to get confused and think too much about it. We just need to go game by game and see what happens."