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City Squad Feeling The Fixture Crunch



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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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday March 21 2009

Time: 7:56AM

Your Comments

Good article JB it highlights the lack of depth we have if we are going to become a major player on the football stage....
Doody
Good article JB it highlights the lack of depth we have if we are going to become a major player on the football stage....
Doody
good article JB. we do need more strength for next season beause i dont feel this current squad is anywhere near as good as it needs to be and you only have to look at thursdays game to see that with all the key players not playing.
bluemooner_mcfc
good article JB. we do need more strength for next season beause i dont feel this current squad is anywhere near as good as it needs to be and you only have to look at thursdays game to see that with all the key players not playing.
bluemooner_mcfc
Well said JB - lucky we got knocked out early in both cup competitions then.
Thaibluefan
Well said JB - lucky we got knocked out early in both cup competitions then.
Thaibluefan
To even think about competing for a top six place next season. we have to shed about six players and look to bring in 8 to 10 new players.
alphieblues
To even think about competing for a top six place next season. we have to shed about six players and look to bring in 8 to 10 new players.
alphieblues
Cheers Blues. Mr. Hughesy also needs to do a Taggart tell Bulgaria to sod off over The Boj's call up.
Johnny Baguette
Cheers Blues. Mr. Hughesy also needs to do a Taggart tell Bulgaria to sod off over The Boj's call up.
Johnny Baguette
Thanks for the focus on this Johnny Baguette. I think Hughes is getting things badly wrong on two fronts: One -- planning for the future in terms of strength in depth. Two -- the general resilience of the senior squad. He has gone on record as saying he feels that successful team training sessions should be based on a first team squad of just 25 players. I think he has this wrong, but please correct me... if you don't agree. We are already running with more than 25 players and struggling to last through a season. And we got turfed out of the two domestic Cups early. Just imagine how many more games we will need to play when we become a Top 4 team. We have the following 25 players who are recently fit-ish: Given, Hart, Bridge, Dunne, Garrido, Ball, Onuoha, Logan, Berti, Richards, Zabaleta, De Jong, Fernandes, Kompany, Elano, Etuhu, Ireland, SWP, Robinho, Bellamy, Bojinov, Caicedo, Evans, Benjani, Vassell. We have also had several long term injured, albeit some now on the way back: Petrov, Bojinov, Benjani, Hamann, Johnson and Sturridge. That by any maths makes 31. Add to that the discontented Schmeichel and the youngsters Clayton and Weiss who appear to be coming into contention. That's 34. Why is Hughes saying he wants to just work with a First Team Training Squad of 25 when he can't get through this truncated season even now with far more than that? As to the general resilience I think Hughes has shown he is often prepared to take risks with players' fitness. I would cite allowing Petrov to go away and get injured for Bulgaria when not fit -- and allowing Bojinov to be called up when he has not even played a senior 90 minutes for us in almost TWO SEASONS. Then there's the playing of Kompany with the cortisone injections. I think anyone who has had to have one of these injections would be crazy to think any sportsman can play to more than 85% performance. Especially in a high-aerobic sport like football which spreads the effects all around the body pretty quickly. I don't know what Hughes and Bowen do in their secretive training sessions -- but if we had managed a run in any domestic Cup the squad could have fallen apart weeks ago. 25 in the First Team squad? Don't make me laugh.
Sindbad
Thanks for the focus on this Johnny Baguette. I think Hughes is getting things badly wrong on two fronts: One -- planning for the future in terms of strength in depth. Two -- the general resilience of the senior squad. He has gone on record as saying he feels that successful team training sessions should be based on a first team squad of just 25 players. I think he has this wrong, but please correct me... if you don't agree. We are already running with more than 25 players and struggling to last through a season. And we got turfed out of the two domestic Cups early. Just imagine how many more games we will need to play when we become a Top 4 team. We have the following 25 players who are recently fit-ish: Given, Hart, Bridge, Dunne, Garrido, Ball, Onuoha, Logan, Berti, Richards, Zabaleta, De Jong, Fernandes, Kompany, Elano, Etuhu, Ireland, SWP, Robinho, Bellamy, Bojinov, Caicedo, Evans, Benjani, Vassell. We have also had several long term injured, albeit some now on the way back: Petrov, Bojinov, Benjani, Hamann, Johnson and Sturridge. That by any maths makes 31. Add to that the discontented Schmeichel and the youngsters Clayton and Weiss who appear to be coming into contention. That's 34. Why is Hughes saying he wants to just work with a First Team Training Squad of 25 when he can't get through this truncated season even now with far more than that? As to the general resilience I think Hughes has shown he is often prepared to take risks with players' fitness. I would cite allowing Petrov to go away and get injured for Bulgaria when not fit -- and allowing Bojinov to be called up when he has not even played a senior 90 minutes for us in almost TWO SEASONS. Then there's the playing of Kompany with the cortisone injections. I think anyone who has had to have one of these injections would be crazy to think any sportsman can play to more than 85% performance. Especially in a high-aerobic sport like football which spreads the effects all around the body pretty quickly. I don't know what Hughes and Bowen do in their secretive training sessions -- but if we had managed a run in any domestic Cup the squad could have fallen apart weeks ago. 25 in the First Team squad? Don't make me laugh.
Sindbad
An excellent assessment Sindbad. Spot on. And Saturday's results mean this team MUST beat Sunderland at all costs before the international break starts.
Johnny Baguette
An excellent assessment Sindbad. Spot on. And Saturday's results mean this team MUST beat Sunderland at all costs before the international break starts.
Johnny Baguette
The players returning from long term injury (Petrov, Benjani, Johnson, Bojinov) may well determine whether our season finishes with a bang or is a damp squib. I agree that Bulgaria should be told where to go and what to do along the way to wherever that is, as City have invested a huge ammount of cash in his rehabilitation and he owes us, not hgis national squad.
fifthcolumnblue
The players returning from long term injury (Petrov, Benjani, Johnson, Bojinov) may well determine whether our season finishes with a bang or is a damp squib. I agree that Bulgaria should be told where to go and what to do along the way to wherever that is, as City have invested a huge ammount of cash in his rehabilitation and he owes us, not hgis national squad.
fifthcolumnblue
 

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