Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini does not expect Owen Hargreaves to be ready for action for another fortnight.
Former Manchester United midfielder Hargreaves joined City last week in the hope of reviving his career after three injury-ravaged years at Old Trafford. The 30-year-old is not yet match-fit and has been left out of City's UEFA Champions League squad, but Mancini believes he will go on to play a big role this season.
Mancini said: "He had a big problem in the last two years but he can recover very well and be a very important player for us. I think he can play in maybe two or three weeks and he can always play. He is 30 years old, he is young and he was very unlucky. If he can recover very well it will not be a problem."
Former England international Hargreaves made just four appearances in his final three seasons at United due to a succession of injury problems. Mancini has been pleased with what he has seen of the player over the past week and is confident he is over his injuries.
The Italian said: "Hargreaves was free, he was without a team. We needed a midfielder and we thought this could be good for us. Hargreaves was a fantastic player. He is fit. He trained with us this week and he worked last week."
Another player unlikely to come into contention until later in the month is defender Kolo Toure, who is now available again after serving a six-month ban for failing a drugs test. "It depends," said Mancini. "He is fit but he needs to play. I think in two weeks he can play."
Hard month ahead
City, who have begun their league campaign with three successive wins, return to action tomorrow after the international break as another unbeaten side, Wigan Athletic, visit the Etihad Stadium. City have an exciting week ahead as they make their Champions League bow against Napoli on Wednesday, but Mancini is not yet looking beyond the weekend.
He said: "It will be a very hard month because we play every three days. They are all important games. I need to think one game at a time and I want to think about Wigan. Wigan have a fantastic manager, they play football very well. They want to attack and score.
"This is difficult - every game we have played against Wigan we have won but we have had a problem. We will have to have good concentration and a good attitude. It is important to have the same attitude we had in the first three games."