By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Manchester City fear Vincent Kompany might not play again for the club until next season, Football Insider sources understand.

Manuel Pellegrini raised fresh doubts about the fitness of the City captain at his media briefing on Tuesday.

Pellegrini claimed Kompany might not be involved in the club’s title challenge until the “last part of the season” as he struggles to recover from a calf injury.

A City source has told Football Insider there are private fears among the staff that the key defender could be out for even longer and may even be sidelined for the rest of the campaign.

Kompany had already been ruled out until late January after aggravating his calf during a comeback that lasted just nine minutes on Boxing Day.

Pellegrini has raised the prospect that the Belgium international could be absent for many more months in what could have a huge impact on the title race.

Pressed at his media conference on Tuesday about when Kompany may return, Pellegrini said: “Its difficult to know. We are still trying to find out the reasons for so many injuries. Myself I’m not so sure, maybe the last part of the season.”

The central defender, who turns 30 in April, made his return on Boxing Day after being sidelined since 8 November 8. He appeared to over-stretch within seconds of replacing Nicolas Otamendi and tried to run the problem off but could not continue.

Injury blow: Kompany is set for another spell on the sidelines after aggravating calf injury

Injury blow: Pellegrini could be without Kompany for many more months

The Belgian international took to Facebook shortly after the game to reassure fans following his early substitution against Sunderland.

“Today was a bad day for me,” Kompany wrote. “My body feels invincible – the best it’s ever been – but I’m challenged by a number of small and local injuries. It leaves me more frustrated than with any of the ‘big’ injuries I’ve had but it’s a challenge that I will overcome.”

With Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala injured, Martin Demichelis is set to partner Nicolas Otamendi in central defence when City take on Everton at home in the Premier League on Wednesday night.