Manchester City defender Micah Richards is edging towards a playing return.

The Daily Mail says City manager Roberto Mancini is set to receive a much-needed boost with the return of key defender Richards.

The 24-year-old is completing the closing stages of his rehabilitation programme after knee surgery in October.

Richards is waiting for the all-clear from consultant Andy Williams but City are confident of having the defender back in full training within two weeks, with the visit to Aston Villa on March 4 pencilled in for a return to action.