Date: 28th December 2008 at 9:57am
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On Sky

After City’s sumptuous display against Hull City; City travel to Blackburn nearly a year to the day since they last played them at Eastlands. However this is City and having two performances in a row is a real rarity.

Vital Quotes:

Shaun Wright Phillips talks about the Blackburn game: ‘It will be hard at Blackburn on Sunday, but we will be coming in off a good win and everyone will be confident. It’s not long until then, so we turn the page and can just get on with it,’ he says.

‘It was nice to to get back to the way that we have been playing on Boxing Day, and to get the result was a big relief for us. We could have had a lot more goals, Stevie Ireland and myself had some chances, maybe we coluld have created a bit more as well. I don’t think we kept the tempo up in the second half, but overall we played fantastically as a team

‘Compared to last week, we know that this is our home and we know we can make it hard for people to beat us here. The head start came when we got off on the right foot, got the early goal and took our chances.’

He then goes on to talk about the dressing room: ‘Ask any of the players and they will tell you that there are no problems between any of the players or the manager and coaching staff. People could see that on the pitch.

‘There is too much talk going on from people who don’t know what is going on. Until they are in the dressing room and know what is what they shouldn’t try to guess what is going on in.

‘We have never been down on ourselves as we know we have plenty of talent in the squad. Now we have to repeat that form at Blackburn.’

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

Midfielder David Dunn is out after damaging a hamstring on Wearside, and striker Roque Santa Cruz, who has been linked with a £20million transfer window move to City, continues to struggle with a calf problem and is not expected to feature.

Also Blackburn captain Ryan Nelsen is a major doubt after suffering a cut over his eye. Keith Andrews and Tugay are likely to play in midfield with the abscence of David Dunn.

Player to watch: Morst Gamst Pedersen

On his day the left winger can cause a lot of problems for defenders and their right backs.

Manchester City FC Team News:

Mark Hughes will check on the fitness of Micah Richards and Felipe Caicedo ahead of the short trip to Blackburn.

Defender Richards (hamstring) and in-form striker Caicedo (calf) were both substituted during Friday’s win over Hull as precautionary measures after experiencing tightness.

Forwards Darius Vassell and Daniel Sturridge are in contention after overcoming knocks to take their places on the bench against Hull.

However, Benjani Mwaruwari will be ‘out for a significant number of weeks’ according to Hughes after rupturing a thigh muscle for the second time this season.

Player to watch: Stephen Ireland

The young Irish midfielder nearly single handidly destroyed Hull on Boxing day and his vision of the game can make it very hard for opposition players.

Match Facts & Stats

Ewood Park has always been a bit of a graveyard for City and indeed Blackburn’s overall record against City is quite impressive. Of the one hundred and four league games played between the two sides blackburn have won forty five of those and only losing thirty four.

Indeed when you look at the recent record in the premiership it is even more impressive with Blackburn winning ten of the twenty games played and only losing three of them.

Ref Watch:

Howard Webb – this is City’s second game with Webby in charge where City beat West Ham at home; it will be Blackburn’s fourth game with him but they have yet to win any of those games.

Match Prediction:

Blackburn will be starting to resemble a Sam Alladyce side and as such will be a very hard team to beat; and with City blowing hot and cold I cannot see City making it too difficult for Blackburn; but I do expect a few goals. BRFC 2 – 2 MCFC.

Next Fixtures:

Nottingham Forest in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup on Saturday 3rd January at the City of Manchester Stadium with a 3pm kick off.


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