Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday March 21 2009
City are 45 League and Cup games down the line with the potential of 14 more to go. It's been a gruelling season and the intensity of the fixtures seems to be telling...
What looked like a surfeit of options one week ago is beginning to swing back towards an injury crisis again.
Long term injury wise, the latest situation is that Martin Petrov and Michael Johnson are still battling to get back into the squad with Rigsby the more likely of the pair to see first team action by the end of the season.
Valeri Bojinov has been brought back slowly and is on the brink of stepping up his comeback. As we reported last week, Benjani and Danny Sturridge are back in full training after their respective strains giving Mark Hughes timely options up front.
But following the energy sapping victory in Aalborg going to the wire, the City gaffer has a number of ongoing injury situations to players who have been pivotal in City keeping out of the relegation zone and through to the UEFA Cup Quarter Finals.
January signings Craig Bellamy and Nigel De Jong have both undergone knee surgery in the past and both have been sidelined for the last few matches with knee problems. It's hoped that both players will make starts against Sunderland after much needed rest.
Of further concern are injuries to Vincent Kompany, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and Stevie Ireland.
Kompany continues to play on with pre match cortisone injections and a modified boot, but realistically, how much longer can he continue like this?
SWP is relentlessly clattered and although continues to battle for the cause with all sorts of knocks, he has been slowing up in the latter stages of recent games.
Ireland, our current Vital MC Man of the Match/ Player of the Season leader has been awesome this season. Essentially the man who makes Manchester City tick. But he is in a lot of pain this weekend after sustaining an ankle injury in Denmark. Scarves and everything crossed that it is not serious.
Bridge has a hamstring problem and is also a doubt for the crucial clash with Sunderland. His injury leads me to again consider why City have sustained so many hamstring, thigh and groin strains this season.
A lot of them have come in training which just does not compute as Hughes assured us we would see a fitter, stronger City side under his leadership particularly in the second half of the season.
Many Blues reported back from Denmark that City collectively looked shattered in the second half on Thursday night.
Futhermore, we know the squad was short on numbers prior to January and continues to struggle for depth in quality, but it's clear that the likes of Robinho and his dodgy ankle and Kompany have been regularly played when they should have been rested.
Desperate times of course mean desperate measures but the boss and his backroom staff must manage the current injury situation with absolute caution, because we cannot afford a high risk 'play when not fully fit' policy with the fixture list we face.
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Date:Saturday March 21 2009
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