Date: 18th September 2009 at 7:14pm
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Mark Hughes has given his pre derby address and it’s a damn sight more dignified than Taggart’s rattled finger pointing. He prefers to focus on the game…

Despite being five strikers down, this is the strongest City squad in years. Pleant Blue will be holding out for Sparky’s side giving them a run for their money after the last two no show’s.

Sparky told the official site:

‘We are looking forward to the game, it’s one that has captured everyone’s imaginations. The interest surrounding it is greater than it’s been in many, many years. We are going to enjoy it, it’s a challenge for us and one of the bigger challenges we will have. It’s about making sure that we give a good account of ourselves, because we are here to stay. We won’t go away anytime soon, we are here to make a challenge and if we can that’s what we will do.’

The gaffer confirmed the lack of striking options:

‘Out of six strikers we have one fully fit. We have hopes on Carlos as an option, he joined in today but he has had no physical contact. He has not really tested the knee so we will have to do that before Sunday, but he is still a doubt.

He said of the swamp:

‘It really is a fantastic stage for top level football. Everybody should be excited about going to a place like Old Trafford, it’s a great arena and a test when you go there. We hope to go there and give a good account of ourselves, and we feel we have the talent in the team that can exploit things in the game at any given time.

Sparky went on to underline the team spirit Shaun Wright-Phillips spoke of this morning is certainly intact as a siege mentality has formed around the club in the opening weeks of the season:

‘There is huge respect for United and their ability to win key games over the years. But we go there in great shape, and you have to go to places like Old Trafford in good heart. Our confidence is high, we are a strong group and very together at the moment, which is a big help to us.

‘We want to win, the fans demand that and we demand that of ourselves, so we are positive ahead of Sunday.’

Would you risk a not fully fit Tevez as Sparky did with Robinho last year? Give us a shout both here and in the VMC Forums.

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