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Toure ready to return

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Kolo Toure is once again available for selection following the end of his six-month ban for testing positive for banned substance, with him speaking to the official site about his return:

"Hopefully, it will be like having a new signing because I am back and want to challenge for a first-team place. I know it won't be easy because the team is playing so well, but I'll be pushing hard for an opportunity. I'm just so happy to be back and I will give everything I have to the team, this club and our fans. I can't wait to get going."    

Although Toure has trained with the squad for the past few weeks, without any sort of pre-season games behind him it is unlikely that Roberto Mancini immediately  throws him back into the fray, with the Carling Cup tie against Birmingham on September 21st a likely return date.

Once his match fitness has returned though, Mancini does face an interesting decision given the form that Joleon Lescott has shown since stepping in for Toure alongside Vincent Kompany to form a partnership that helped guide the side to success at the end of 2010/11.

I initially took a look at the defensive partnerships at the end of last season and have expanded on that topic for my latest article over at EPL Index that compares the numbers of both Toure and Lescott to see who ultimately will got the nod alongside Kompany.