Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday September 22 2009
The City Of Manchester Stadium
Wednesday 23rd October 2009
20h00 Eastlands Time
Back to football after a torrid three days. The timing of this League Cup clash could not be better as a seething City squad aim to get the derby defeat immediately out of their system.
'We would like to do well in all competitions but we need to make priorities and we won't be the only club to prioritise the Premier League and the Europa League over the Carling Cup. The chance to put out a different group of players can be advantageous.
'I was really excited by what the players who played CSKA Sofia were able to do and a lot of them will be available tomorrow night. This is a moment for some of the players who have been trying to persuade me that I should not forget them to stake their claim.'
'Fulham gives us the chance to get back on the winning trail and show another side to our character. The Carling Cup is very important to us
and we are now 100% focused on the tie. Winning a trophy of any description is a fantastic feeling and that is what we want to do.'
'We have to move on and it's about concentrating on what is ahead of us now.'
It's pretty much as you were at City Casualty. Roque Santa Cruz, Vincent Kompany and Michael Johnson remain sidelined for previous well documented reasons.
Sparky reckons Crocky could add his debut height to City's attack in Emmanuel Adebayor's absence during next Monday night's league game with West Ham and Vinny is close to a comeback.
Unfortunately, Nedum Onuoha's frustrating start to the campaign has worsened with the news that he is out for a month following a reserves fixture thigh injury.
There is a chance that Sparky will rest Carlos Tevez who defied all odds to face the rags. This brings Flying Bulgar Martin Petrov into the equation with a few points to prove. Vladimir Weiss could also feature giving Shaun Wright-Phillips a break at some stage, depending on how the tie develops.
For the second time in a week I'm selecting Bellamy as the City player to watch. He is absolutely on fire and playing as if his life depends upon it. Right now perhaps we should rename him Bellaminho!
He has totally silenced his Blue critics, this correspondent included with his lung bursting efforts and knowing that he has been given a reprieve by the FA for confronting a pitch invader is sure to only fire him up all the more.
Compared to City's 6 competitive domestic fixtures this season, Fulham by contrast have played 10 in all competitions. They are fairing well in Europe but stuttering in the League. Sounds familiar?
In a pattern all too familiar to The Citizens last season, Fulham drew at CSKA Sofia last week and were beaten at Wolves the following Sunday.
The intensity of the Europa League fixtures allied to domestic commitments can stretch a squad to the limit should it be of insufficient quality and depth. How we learned that last season.
Roy Hodgson arrives in Manchester already hinting at playing a number of the second string players he utilised last week. Jonathan Greening, Simon Davies and Diomansky Kamara could start after featuring in the defeat at Wolves.
Johnson is one of those players who always seems to do a job against City and will have to be well shackled if he gets the right service.
Head To Head - All competitions
52 games, City 22 wins, Fulham 17 wins, 13 draws.
Fulham and City have only ever played one League Cup fixture. In 1967 Fulham won 3-2 in a fourth round tie.
Fulham have only won one away fixture all season at Vetra Vilnius in their opening game.
In an unusual twist, the rags are at home to Wolves in the same competion on the same night. GMP are not expecting that fixture to have too much effect upon Manchester traffic congestion with Piccadilly Railway station and Ringway the hardest hit areas.
To be confirmed...
City have an ideal opportunity to banish the memory of derby disappointment within a matter of days. The side have been working hard defensively at Carrington in a bid to shore up the holes afforded to the rags down the right flank on Sunday. Fulham are not giving particularly motivated signs and I'm banking on them suffering a backlash from a City side, club and fans who have taken an under siege beating from hacks, pundits and rival fans alike during the past fortnight. The Blues have just hit 7 goals past Arsenal and the rags and if Sparky again fields a strong side I expect a comfortable win. Johnny On The Spot: CITY 4 Fulham 0
Mon 28 Sep, 20h00 Eastlands Time: CITY v West Ham, Premier League.
Mon 5 Oct, 20h00 Brum Time: Aston Villa v CITY, Premier League.
Date:Tuesday September 22 2009
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