City defender Zabaleta hungry to play after injury

London, Jan 1 (IANS) Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta is raring to to go and hopes to put his injury nightmare behind him once and for all after returning to full fitness.

Zabaleta missed the first two months of the campaign after damaging his knee during training before returning in October to play five games. However, he injured the same ligament in the Capital One Cup tie against Crystal Palace, side-lining the Argentina international footballer for further two months.

“The knee feels really good and I’ve felt great in training over the past few days. I started full training again a few days before the Sunderland game (Boxing Day) so it was too soon to return because I needed a few intense sessions with the team to get my sharpness back but it felt good to be on the bench again against Leicester (December 30),” he told the club’s website on Friday.

“I damaged the same ligament as I injured earlier in the season, just a slightly different area. It was just bad luck more than anything and I’ve seen a specialist to make sure I come back 100 percent and not make this a recurring injury. I’ve had a few injections and as I say, now I feel great and ready to go,” the 30-year-old added.

“Now I just need a few matches to get right back up to speed because it’s been quite a while since I played. I’m looking to get involved as soon as possible with so many games to come in January and it’s important that we have as many players fit as possible for such an important part of the season.”

If Zabaleta is involved against Watford, he knows City face another stern test from a side who’ve surprised many this season.

The Hornets are just one point off fifth place in the English Premier League (EPL) standings and were unlucky to lose 1-2 to Tottenham Hotspur on Boxing Day.

“It will be a tough game and they’ve done really well to be so high in the Premier League at this stage of the season,” the former Espanyol player said.

“They look really solid as a team and they have a really good manager in Quique Sanchez Flores who I know from my time in Spain where he managed Valencia and Atletico Madrid. I think he’s doing a great job, though it doesn’t surprise me.”

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