Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Sunday December 21 2008
21st December 2008
With results happening yesterday we meet West Brom as fellow bottom three merchants. With sections of the crowd in Santander baying for Hughes' head, this is a must win game for both teams.
Mark Hughes talks about the game: 'West Brom are a good side. They came up in fine style last season,' says Hughes.
'I know Tony well, because I have been on courses with him. He is very much a football man. He likes his sides to get the ball down and pass it around. He sticks to his principles.
'I am sure it will be a good game for the neutral. But from our point of view, we are looking to be progressive and win the game.
He then goes on to talk about the impact of Thursday's game and what the squad can bring: 'We will welcome back a number of players, so we will be a lot stronger than we were in Spain.
'A number of English teams have had negative results this week (in the UEFA Cup), because it is difficult when you have already qualified. We expect the performance against West Brom to be much better.
'It is important we start getting points on the board. We have the ability in the side to win at the Hawthorns. They will no doubt come out flying, but we have to combat whatever they throw at us by doing the correct things more often than not.
'Winning gives you confidence, and at the moment we are not getting the wins that we feel our football deserves.
'We have produced some good stuff this season, and everyone knows that. What we haven't been able to do is perform to that level on a consistent basis.'
Roman Bednar and Do-Heon Kim will both be hoping for starting berths for the Baggies after coming on as half-time substitutes in the 4-0 defeat at Sunderland last time out.
Bednar leads the Baggies' scoring charts with four goals to his name, while Mowbray will also be looking for a greater threat from Luke Moore and Craig Beattie.
West Brom central defender Leon Barnett has recovered from a knee injury.
He is a big strong powerful forward but has not really found his feet in the premiership as of yet.
Record signing Robinho is a major doubt for the visitors after suffering a recurrence of his ankle injury in the Uefa Cup defeat by Racing Santander on Thursday.
But fellow forwards Jo and Daniel Sturridge could be back in contention after missing the clash in Spain after a virus and an Achilles problem respectively, but Benjani Mwaruwari is out for several weeks with a hamstring injury.
Skipper Richard Dunne is also expected to feature having missed the final Group A fixture after his wife gave birth to a baby boy.
City also welcome back Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Ireland and Kompany into the starting line up after not featuring from the start of Thursday's match in nSantander.
After a very impressive cameo substitute performance; maybe Felipe Caciedo has done enough to keep his place in the side; I for one certainly hope he does.
The difference really shows in the City team when Shaun does not play is the real energy he brings to the game and maybe he is due a goal with all his recent shots coming very close.
City's recent record against the Baggies is not very impressive and you have to 2nd November 2002 for the last time City won at the Hawthorns when Anelka and Goater scored around a Neil Clement goal; andthat being City's only premiership victory over the Baggies.
Even before the days of the premiership City did not have a great record at the Hawthorns.
Chris Foy - not the greatest of referee's but not totally incompitent. This will be City's second game this season with Chris in charge where City won at Sunderland. It will be his second for West Brom also with them winning at Middlesbrough. Chris has yet to show a red card this season.
With City as they are at present and West Brom having the hoo doo sign over Cityu at present it is hard to look to a City victory; but I am either going to be very brave or very stupid and stick my neck out and say we will get a comfortable victory. WBA 0 - 2 MCFC.
Hull City at home on Friday 26th December with a 3pm kick off.
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Date:Sunday December 21 2008
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