Mario Balotelli will play in Manchester City v Watford FA Cup match

Balotelli set to play in FA Cup clash with Watford despite training-ground scuffle with Mancini… but City will still try to sell bad boy

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

11:42 GMT, 5 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 5 January 2013

Mario Balotelli is in Manchester City's squad for today’s FA Cup tie against Watford despite his bust-up with boss Roberto Mancini.

The Italian striker spent Friday night with the players at the team hotel in Manchester and has been told he will definitely be involved at some stage this afternoon.

Balotelli has not played since being taken off just after half-time in the Barclays Premier League defeat against Manchester United a month ago after falling ill and this week hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after a training ground bust up with manager Mancini.

Are you sure you should have that Mario Balotelli returned to training on Friday after his bust-up

Are you sure you should have that Mario Balotelli returned to training on Friday after his bust-up

However, Mancini is satisfied that
Balotelli is ready to be involved and the feeling at last night’s team
meeting was that he would start this afternoon among the substitutes and
come on in the second half. Ideally, Mancini would like to start the
Italian but is not sure his fitness is up to it.

City will also include youngster
Karim Rekik in the squad but will field a strong starting XI that will
also include Carlos Tevez.

It comes as City try to sell
Balotelli as soon as possible after Mancini privately conceded he cannot
change the wayward Italy striker.

Despite further claims to the
contrary from the City manager, it is understood that Mancini has
finally decided it is time to move Balotelli out of the club.

City will not wish to say the 22-year-old is for sale, for fear of driving down his plummeting value even further.

But with Balotelli now providing virtually nothing on the field — he has scored just one goal this season in the Barclays Premier League — and proving to be a constant distraction behind the scenes, Mancini, having previously stood by the player against the advice of many of his staff, accepts he has done all he can.

Game over: Balotelli will now be sold by Manchester City despite Mancini insisting otherwise (below)

Game over: Balotelli will now be sold by Manchester City despite Mancini insisting otherwise (below)

Glum: Roberto Mancini faces the questions during his Friday press conference

Mancini spoke for the first time
about the embarrassing scenes that occurred at the end of a City
training session on Thursday as the manager and his striker were
photographed pushing and shoving each other in front of the astonished
first-team squad.

Mancini
said he would give Balotelli a ‘hundred chances to change’ and confirmed
that the former Inter Milan star would not be fined and would be in the
squad for the FA Cup tie with Watford at the Etihad Stadium this
afternoon.

But City are willing to talk to any club who may wish to make an offer. AC Milan are circling but City want a cash sale — not a loan.

This all points to Balotelli staying during the transfer window and being sold in the summer.

Pals again Balotelli (left) laughs with team-mate Scott Sinclair during training on Friday

Pals again Balotelli (left) laughs with team-mate Scott Sinclair during training on Friday

On Friday, further details emerged
of Balotelli’s assault on team-mate Scott Sinclair that prompted
Mancini’s bust-up with Balotelli. Sportsmail understands that Balotelli’s lunge on Sinclair was so wild that Mancini felt compelled to intervene.

‘This
was not just a mistimed tackle that you sometimes get towards the end
of training,’ a source revealed. ‘This was an horrendous, horrific
slash.’

Meanwhile a separate issue loomed over another City striker when it emerged that Sergio Aguero has split from his wife Giannina, daughter of Diego Maradona, after four years.

It is unclear whether she will live with their three-year-old son Benjamin in Madrid or Buenos Aires, but the news is bound to raise concerns over Aguero remaining settled in Manchester.