Micah Richards is optimistic that he can return from a knee injury for Manchester City’s trip to Arsenal on Saturday. The defender has sat out City’s last four games with the problem, but is expecting to be back in full training later this week.

But, though the England international is hopeful he will be fit, he accepts he may have a job on his hands to dislodge Nedum Onuoha from the right-back role for the game at Emirates Stadium. “I am going to train later this week as long as it is comfortable and hopefully be available for the Arsenal game,” said Richards

“It is going to be hard for me to walk straight back in after three weeks out, but that is up to the manager. All I can do is work hard.” The 21-year-old admits time is running out if he is to make a late claim for a place in England’s squad for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa

After playing regularly for the Under 21s, he has yet to convince manager Fabio Capello of his qualities for the senior side. Richards said: “Being injured has put a bit of a damper on things, but I am remaining positive by training hard. I will give 100% and take it as it comes.”