Date:Friday January 16 2009
The City Of Manchester Stadium
Saturday 17th January 2009
Manchester City's mega-bid for AC Milan's football maestro Kaka is reported to be in excess of £100m and has dominated world news this week.
The Wigan game is a potential banana skin and a must win if we are to have any hope of swaying him or challenging for Europe.
Hughes gave a positive review of Wigan stating: 'Wigan are doing well, they are a wholehearted and committed side who work hard for each other.
'They are a good solid side and if they continue in the same manner as the past few months, they will have aspirations of Europe.
'I am sure Steve Bruce will not really want to talk about that but it may well be possible for them.'
Steve Bruce said of his side: 'It was an unbelievable effort at Old Trafford, and I hope we have something left - because there were a lot of tired bodies after the game.
'I want us to have a good crack at City - they have not had the best of runs in recent weeks.
'But we know they can hurt teams, so it is important we defend properly.'
After the degrading FA Cup upset at home to Nottingham Forest, news of Kaka will have certainly changed the dressing room atmosphere.
Dietmar Hamann is sidelined with a toe injury after being ruled out for at least three months while diminutive winger Shaun Wright-Phillips is still recoveing from a hamstring strain and will face a late fitness test. Thomas Cook Player of the Month for November - Stephen Ireland, is banned for picking up 5 yellow cards but City's record breaking summer signing Robinho is back in the squad after his thigh injury.
Wayne Bridge will start his first game as a Manchester City player after the Portsmouth game was cancelled last week.
Wayne Bridge will be out to prove to everyone that he is still a quality player but after news of a bid for friend and Brazil compatriot Kaka, I can see Robinho running the show against Wigan.
Unlike Manchester City, Wigan has no new injury problems.
Fatigue will be Wigan's main problem to overcome, the grueling midweek game at Old Trafford will surely take its toll.
Wigan have some good players in their team, most notably Zaki, Valencia, Heskey and midfield power-house Palacios who has been the subject of a bid from Redknapp's Tottenham.
This will be the eighth time that Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce have faced each other as managers. Both have won three games and one was drawn.
This is also the eighth time Wigan and Manchester City have faced each other in the Premier League but the results are much less balanced as Wigan are yet to lose.
Lee Mason takes the responsibility of referee for this clash. In nine Premier League games he has issued 2 red cards and 32 yellows, three of those being against Manchester City in the loss against Middlesbrough.
This game is a tough one to call. Wigan are playing exceptionally well and have nothing to lose against a City side who has... Lets say Kaka and a European place to lose. If the Manchester boys are as excited as we fans are about the goings on in the transfer market, I predict an inspired performance which will turn over a hard working Wigan team. MCFC 2 - 0 Wigan.
Newcastle at home on Wednesday 28th January with a 7.45pm kick off.
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Date:Friday January 16 2009
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