The Manchester City defender Michael Richards has said that he is hoping to return to first-team action by the start of February. He has recently undergone a successful operation for the knee injury he sustained a few weeks ago. The 24-year-old has been one of the impressive players for Manchester City over the last few months.

The fact that he will not be available during the month of January will be a major loss to the manager Roberto Mancini, but he will definitely have the defender for the crucial final three months of the season. City are only a few points below the leaders Manchester United and are hoping to retain the title for a first time in their history.

Micah Richards was initially expected to be out for the rest of the season after suffering an injury in the Champions League match against Ajax. However, the injury has not been as severe as initially feared and the defender is expected to be back in the first week of February. This is likely to mean that he will miss the first few rounds of the FA Cup, while also crucial matches in the Premier league. City do not have anything to complete other than the Premier league and the FA Cup this season.

“I am not putting a date on when I will be back because these things are never exact but I am hoping it will be in early February. There is still not too much I can do but I am now on one crutch instead of two so that is progress. Of course it is frustrating and there is nothing more I would like than to be out there playing but I am being well looked after, the injury is responding and the knee getting stronger every day,” said the defender.