(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has refused to be drawn on whether under-fire goalkeeper Joe Hart will be dropped for the visit of Norwich City on Saturday.
The England stopper has been under the microscope after a series of recent errors, the latest being a mix-up with defender Matija Nastasic that allowed Fernando Torres to score Chelsea’s winner in a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
Hart sat out the 2-0 League Cup victory over Newcastle United on Wednesday, although that was expected as understudy Costel Pantilimon is a regular in the competition.
Pellegrini would not say whether the tall Romanian, who has yet to appear in the Premier League, would be wearing the gloves in place of Hart for Saturday’s home clash.
“Tomorrow you will know the XI that starts,” the Chilean told a news conference on Friday. “It’s a decision I have to take every week.”
City captain Vincent Kompany is still sidelined and not expected to be fit until after the international break later this month, meaning he will also miss next week’s trip to Sunderland.
The talismanic Belgium international has not played since aggravating a thigh injury against Everton on October 5, having initially hurt it on the opening day of the season.
“Vincent is progressing, I think after the international break he will be back, but not before,” Pellegrini said.
“He is a very important player, but we have a strong squad and the other players can play.”
Defensive midfielder Javi Garcia and Montenegro striker Stevan Jovetic are also out after picking up knocks during the extra-time victory over Newcastle.
Robert Snodgrass and Nathan Redmond are injury doubts for struggling Norwich, who lie third from bottom with eight points from nine matches.
City have won all four of their league games at the Etihad Stadium this season but Pellegrini still expected a tough battle.
“Norwich are a very good team. If we think we are playing at home, so we will win easy, I think it is a very big mistake.”
Reporting by Josh Reich; Editing by Alison Wildey