Roberto Mancini claims he hopes Mario Balotelli has a future at Manchester City - and says he could start against Manchester United on Monday.
The maverick forward is available again for the crunch clash with rivals United after serving a three-match ban for his sending-off at Arsenal.
Balotelli's absence cleared the path for Carlos Tevez to make a sensational return to the starting line-up and kickstart the club's title bid, helping them win three games on the bounce to close the gap at the top to just three points.
But City boss Mancini, having earlier suggested he would "probably" look to sell the 21-year-old in the summer, is now taking a more conciliatory approach towards Balotelli.
"Despite some stupid things he has done, Mario has done some important things, like his double strike at Old Trafford this season," Mancini told France Football.
"With him anything is possible. It is difficult to say today if I will recall Balotelli but everyone is available and I will make my choice on Sunday.
"It's like a family when a child does stupid things. The affection of the parents is still there. He's young and he commits big mistakes that can put the team in difficulty.
"But I still think he has great talent and I hope he will be a City player next season. It's all in his hands."