Manchester City announced today in a club statement that they have extended Frank Lampard’s loan from New York City FC until the end of City’s season which will enable the veteran midfielder, who will be 37 in June, to participate in domestic and European campaigns for City.
Lampard will be able to play against Sunderland tomorrow if selected.
Manchester City play a round of 16 tie with Barcelona in February and are still in line for a domestic double with an FA Cup tie with Sheffield Wednesday to come on Sunday January 4 2015. They also lie second in the league, just three points behind league leaders Chelsea.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini had earlier reiterated his desire to retain Lampard until the end of the season and expected talks to go down to the wire as the midfielder’s loan deal expired at midnight tonight.
City return to Barclays Premier League action on New Years’ Day against Sunderland who have recently had a very good record against City.
The corresponding fixture last season on February 12 was called off due to high winds and a Met Office Red Warning and City drew the re-arranged match 2-2 in April this year as the season came to a head.
Pellegrini said: “Sunderland is a good team with a good manager in Gustavo Poyet who knows how they want to play and they also have strong players in aerial duels.
“They are always a difficult team to play against.”
Pellegrini refused to complain about the fixture pile-up at this traditional time of year. He said:
“We don’t complain about the fixture list as all the teams have the same fixtures. It’s not ideal to play again after 48 hours but no team has the advantage over the others when they all play.
“Boxing Day is a traditional day but we don’t need to play on the 28th just two days after and we must play on New Years Day. The players deserve to be with their families on one of these days.”
Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Vincent Kompany are all unavailable this weekend with injuries. City captain Kompany may be back next week but Aguero and Dzeko are not expcted back until later in January.
Pellegrini confirmed that Yaya Toure was fit to play after being rested on December 28th for City’s home game with Burnley, just two days after the game at West Brom. The Ivorian was rested after it was decided that playing two games in 48 hours would be a risk for him.
Toure will be off to play for Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations on January 5th which will leave a big hole in the City midfield which may now be filled by Frank Lampard.
There was still no news over midfielder James Milner’s contract, which is expected to expire at the end of the season. Milner has been used as an emergency forward in recent games due to the striker injury crisis at City.
Similarly, Martin Demichelis’ contract also expires at the end of the season and Pellegrini has also admitted that he would like the ‘important’ defender to sign a new deal.