Manchester City travel to Ewood Park tomorrow with a number of players injured; Adebayor, Santa Cruz, Kompany and Johnson all look set to miss the game tomorrow, whilst doubts remain over the fitness of Craig Bellamy. However Blackburn Rovers have their own injury worries with five senior players doubtful for the match.
Santa Cruz will not be available until next month as he continues to recover from a knee operation whilst Adebayor has suffered a groin strain after playing for Togo in midweek. Carlos Tevez may start the game after recovering from a shower related heel injury. Manager Mark Hughes said: “Carlos has had some good work this week and we are pleased. He is looking in good shape.”
Manchester City’s Assistant Medical Officer gave assurances that Santa Cruz passed his medical with flying colours.
Blackburn Rovers look to be without Captain Ryan Nelsen after injuring his knee last week in the friendly against Dundee. Left back Gael Givet looks set to cover the central defender. Other injury doubts are Brett Emerton (knee), David Dunn (thigh), Steven Ried (knee) and Vince Grella (hamstring). Rovers gum fixated manager said: “It is about keeping players’ fitness and getting Dunn, Emerton, Reid and Nelsen back in the squad as quickly as possible. Those are key players on how good a season we are going to have. That coupled with players we have already got and Franco Di Santo and Nikola Kalinic doing the business and scoring the goals and Steven Nzonzi emerging, will determine whether we have a really good season or just a mediocre one.”
Everyone is wondering exactly what tactics Mark Hughes will employ against Blackburn, with the many options he has at his disposal. However no one will have to guess the tactics that a Fat Sam Blackburn Rovers team will employ – kick City into submission. Midfielder David Dunn gave an eloquent description of the mastermind tactics: “It’s important we do our best and kick lumps out of them – fairly of course,”
“We have to be very strong and organised and the main thing is we will have to be really aggressive against them and knock them about a bit. That’s what the manager will be asking from our lads. We have to make Ewood Park a place no–one wants to come to again.
“I think it is a good time to play City. Unfortunately we don’t have the same resources. But what we do have is an even level on that pitch and as soon as the lads cross the white line the money doesn’t really matter. It’s about how much you want it.”
Allardyce prepares his team tactics
City look set to start with new signings Toure and Barry in a Mark Hughes line up that will be able to overcome any rough tactics from Blackburn. A lot is expected of Manchester City tomorrow, however it will be a tough game. City did not have the best away record last term and the Blackburn match could well see a draw. Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1 Manchester City 1
Mark Hughes pre-match press conference
Blackburn Rovers v Manchester City, 15 Aug 2009, 3pm KO
City Line Up (Probable) : Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Dunne, Bridge, De Jong, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Robinho, Tevez
Blackburn Line Up (probable) : Robinson, Jacobsen, Warnock, Nelsen, Samba, Pedersen, Emerton, Andrews, Grella, Diouf, McCarthy