Football

Pep ready for 'final' against WBA

Manchester City centre back John Stones is fit to face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League tomorrow morning (Singapore time) after recovering from a muscular problem that has kept him out of action since April 8, manager Pep Guardiola said yesterday.

The match against West Brom is fourth-placed City's final home game of a disappointing campaign.

The Citizens will end it without silverware but can finish third in the league if they win their two remaining fixtures.

Midfielder Fabian Delph will miss both matches after picking up an injury in training.

Guardiola said the game would give fans the opportunity to say farewell to long-serving fullback Pablo Zabaleta, who joined City in 2008 and will leave at the end of the season.

The Spaniard can look forward to a busy transfer window after the season ends, as he looks to build a squad capable of fighting for the league title and mounting a challenge in the Champions League.

For the time being, he is fully focused on ensuring City win both their remaining games, including Sunday's trip to Watford, to finish as high up the table as possible.

"Tuesday is the important thing," Guardiola added.

"From next Sunday, we will be focused (on transfers) and see what decisions we will take.

"For now, it's so important to stay in the present.

"At the end of the season, we will speak about this."

West Brom are eighth in the table, but have not won in their last seven league matches, although Guardiola is expecting opposite number Tony Pulis to field a team that will make life tough for the home side.

"They are professionals, they will play to win," Guardiola said.

"Tony Pulis' teams don't play thinking it doesn't matter. It's a real final for us, and we are going to be ready." - AFP

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