MANCHESTER CITY and West Ham are set to cut short their winter break and play next week.
The Premier League will rule today on when the rearranged fixture — wiped out by Storm Ciara on Sunday — should take place.
After initial talks with the clubs yesterday, next Tuesday or Wednesday look the most likely options.
That would be a surprise U-turn by the League, who asked clubs to respect the inaugural two-week gap in the fixture list.
It would also annoy David Moyes and Co.
West Ham would most likely have preferred to wait for a date in April when City might have other priorities.
Yet that is the reason finding a new date has proved so problematic.
City are still involved in three cup competitions and have few midweek slots available.
They already have two league games to rearrange — and that could rise if they beat Sheffield Wednesday next month and reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The Hammers, who have no cup commitments, are unlikely to be happy if the fixture is confirmed for next week but would be forced to abide by the Premier League’s decision.
There are six Prem games due to take place this weekend but there was no possibility of making City against West Ham a seventh.
Both Moyes and City boss Pep Guardiola have given their players time off this week while the winter break is on, with neither squad due to return to training until Saturday.
Meanwhile, City forward Raheem Sterling is winning his fitness race to face Real Madrid in the Champions League.
SunSport revealed last week the England ace faced a battle to be fit for City’s huge last-16, first-leg tie in Spain later this month after picking up a hamstring injury against Tottenham.
Scans suggested up to a three-week lay-off despite it being a grade one strain, the least severe.
But Sterling is making good progress in his recovery and looks likely to make the clash at the Bernabeu on February 26.
He has even been allowed a short holiday, suggesting that he does not need much treatment.