December 4, 2017 / 6:58 AM / 7 days ago

Stones hopeful of City return during Christmas period

(Reuters) - Manchester City defender John Stones is targeting a return from his hamstring injury during the Premier League club’s packed Christmas schedule, the England international has said.

The 23-year-old defender has missed the club’s last three league games and one Champions League fixture after being substituted off with the injury during last month’s match against Leicester City.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been out injured - the rehab is going well and hopefully I’ll be back soon,” Stones told Sky Sports.

“I’d like to be back out there for Christmas but let’s see where it goes. I think it might be just after.”

City re-established their eight-point lead atop the league table and extended their winning streak to 20 games across all competitions with a 2-1 win over West Ham United on Sunday.

Stones made 18 appearances for City before the injury and he credits manager Pep Guardiola for his strong performances this campaign.

“It’s been a joy to play in - Pep is very demanding,” Stones added.

“Everyday Pep wants to improve you as a player - I feel like I’ve done that off the pitch as well being in the surroundings that his staff have created. That’s a quality in itself to be able to bring that out of his players.”

Guardiola’s side travel to Shakhtar Donetsk for their final Champions League group game on Wednesday before a highly-anticipated derby against second-placed Manchester United next Sunday.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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