Vincent Kompany returns to Manchester City training

EXCLUSIVE: Kompany back in training as Manchester City captain targets Toon clash

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UPDATED:

12:39 GMT, 13 December 2012

Manchester City have been handed a huge boost with the return to training of Vincent Kompany.

The City captain limped off early with a hamstring problem in last weekend's derby defeat to Manchester United and was ruled out of Saturday's trip to Newcastle in the Barclays Premier League.

However, the Belgian is desperate to play and asked manager Roberto Mancini if he could to some training on Thursday.

Concern: Vincent Kompany limped out of the derby with a hamstring problem

Concern: Vincent Kompany limped out of the derby with a hamstring problem

Kompany trained on his own away from the main group of players and will see how his injury responds before making a decision on whether to train properly on Friday.

Mancini still rates Kompany as 'very doubtful' for Saturday's game at St James' Park but hopes his skipper will miss just one game at the most.

Meanwhile, City defender Micah Richards hopes to be back playing by early February after knee surgery in October.

The 24-year-old tore the meniscus in his right knee but is gradually making progress in his rehabilitation.

On the mend: Micah Richards (No 2) hopes to be playing again in February

On the mend: Micah Richards (No 2) hopes to be playing again in February

'I am not putting a date on when I will be back because these things are never exact but I am hoping it will be in early February,' he told City's website.

'There is still not too much I can do but I am now on one crutch instead of two so that is progress.

'Of course it is frustrating and there is nothing more I would like than to be out there playing but I am being well looked after, the injury is responding and the knee getting stronger every day.

'I am busy try to build the muscle up and I am doing some weights.'