Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Saturday January 12 2008
12th January 2008
City travel down the M62 to one of the poorest grounds in the premiership, but the football they play there does not depict the poor surroundings as they are without doubt City's strongest contenders for the fourth/fifth place finish in the league.
Richard Dunne on his return to Goodison Park: "Everton will be on the home ground and will be fancying their chances. They are in Europe now and know what it is all about, and they will see us as one of their challengers.
"Three points will be a big boost for them, but our away form has really improved. We need to pick up results on the road, Saturday is going to be difficult but it`s one we feel confident going in to and it is one we feel we can win."
He then talks of Yakubu and the rest of the squad: "It`s good he`s not there though! He`s a proven goalscorer in this league and he will be missing, but Johnson and McFadden have been doing well. We know it`s going to be a battle and they have Arteta coming back, so it`s a real challenge for us."
Joseph Yobo and Yakubu Aiyegbeni have now joined up with Nigeria in time for the African Cup of Nations, and with Stephen Pienaar already with the South African squad Moyes is preparing for a spell without the trio.
Mikel Arteta has now completed his three-match ban and should make an immediate return to the first-team, but Leon Osman is out with a broken foot and fellow midfielder Thomas Gravesen is struggling with a knee problem.
He invariably scores against us as he ghosts into the box unmarked.
Michael Johnson is still two weeks away from a return for City after a recurrence of an abdominal complaint, but should be back in contention by the end of January.
Valeri Bojinov is nearing a first-team return after a long spell on the sidelines, while Michael Ball is expected to continue at left-back against his former club after his recent performances have helped to keep Javier Garrido out of the side.
Nery Castillo could be handed his Premier League debut, but with Brazilian star Elano ready to come back in after missing the FA Cup tie with West Ham last weekend the Mexican may have to settle for a place on the bench.
He seems to have really been a buzz about the City team as he torments right backs with his pace and crossing ability.
Since City's return to the premiership they have only ever been beaten by an odd goal in two matches and had City have had a decent referee on New Years day in 2003, would have won two one.
But instead you have to go back to October 1992 for City's only premiership victory at Goodison where Mike Sheron scored a brace and David White got the third.
Mark Halsey - this is his third City game this season. They have all been away;(Fulham & Tottenham) both games he has not been brilliant for City, but maybe third time lucky.
City to continue their winless run at Goodison; a scoring draw with City equalizing. 1 - 1.
West Ham - FA Cup 3rd round replay at City of Manchester Stadium on Wednesday 16th January with an 8:05pm kick off.
Date:Saturday January 12 2008
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