Date: 25th April 2008 at 12:42pm
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City go into this game aiming to complete their third hat-trick of victories of the season with the last one coming back in October. Fulham will be coming to the City of Manchester Stadium with hope that they can pull of an unlikely victory to give them a slim chance of avoiding relegation. You have to look at Fulham and say that if you are not happy with the current management then at least have someone lined up who might give you a good chance at staying up. Replacing the passionate Lawrie Sanchez with the very droll Roy Hodgson was taking one step forward and two steps back as I am sure that over the season Lawrie would have Fulham further up the table by now; the crazy gang spirit that he has is worth a lot. Look at Northern Ireland; it took a little while for him to make his mark, but he did in the end. Al Fayed was far too hasty in his dismissal and I think City will be the ones to benefit.

Vital Quotes:

Corluka and Sven talk about the game. Sven goes on to say; ‘If you don`t have a target for the last games and the sun comes out, then everything becomes heavy, but now it`s just to go on fighting and try to beat Fulham.

“I hope that we can play good football in the last three games and that we can take many points.”

“Richard Dunne has a 50/50 chance to play against Fulham, but if he doesn`t play against Fulham, he will be ready for the last two away games.

“It would be very good to have him on the pitch.”

Corluka then talks about the third straight win; ‘I’m expecting an open game because they need to beat us, we want a win because we want to go to Europe so I think it will be a good game for the fans to watch, and hopefully we’ll win.

‘It is very important we win our remaining matches as that might take us into Europe. We keep looking at the table and we know what we need to do, because we would love to play in Europe next season.’

‘I don’t think that much changed, we trained the same but we won the games. I think the luck has changed for us.

‘It was important for us to win those two games, because our form had not been so good, so we’re very confident coming into this game against Fulham.’

Manchester City FC Team News:

City’s defence is nearly all on the treatment table that gives City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson a defensive headache for the visit of Fulham with captain Richard Dunne doubtful with a hamstring strain.

If Dunne is indeed ruled out then youngster Sam Williamson could be given his full debut after coming off the bench in last weekend’s win over Portsmouth.

Although Micah Richards (knee) and Nedum Onuoha (shoulder) are out, Sun Jihai is set to return and could feature at right-back allowing Elano to secure his more familiar midfield role.

Benjani is likely to lead City’s attack once again with Vassell and Bulgarian Martin Petrov for support.

City have recalled Shaleum Logan from his loan spell at Stockport as he can add defensive cover.

Valeri Bojinov is edging closer to a place on the City bench after completing eighty minutes in the reserves.

Player to watch: Martin Petrov

His wing play last week was top notch and if he can get at the Fulham defence like he did at Craven Cottage then we are in for a treat.

Fulham FC Team News:

Fulham may well ring the changes following their defeat to Rafa Benitez’s side at Craven Cottage.

Erik Nevland and Diomansy Kamara may be given the nod ahead of Brian McBride and David Healy, who failed to impress against The Reds.

Hodgson will be hoping Antti Niemi is available following Kasey Keller’s less than assured display against Liverpool. Niemi has been out of action with an Achilles injury.

Should Niemi miss out again Tony Warner may also be drafted in, as the West London club look to keep their survival hopes alive.

Jimmy Bullard and Simon Davies should retain their midfield places, although Leon Andresen could come in for Danny Murphy.

Player to watch: Jimmy Bullard

Since coming back from a horendous knee injury he has made Fulham tick and how Sanchez would have loved to be able to use him as he is a quality midfielder that can help supply the now fit again Brian McBride.

Match Facts & Stats

City have the slightly better premiership record over Fulham but since our mid season blip and the return to form of Elano; City’s post Christmas stats of passing etc are better than the pre-Christmas ones. Fulham’s only premiership win at City came at the end of yet another away winless run at the end of the 2005/6 season where they came from one nil down to win two one.

Ref Watch:

Mike Dean – not a brilliant referee as he loves to flash the cards; three and a half yellows per game is a high average; and he has sent of ten people; Dunne at Blackburn being one. So he could have a hand in deciding this tense game.

Match Prediction:

If City can keep McBride and Bullard quiet then I think City will win comfortably. City 2 – 0 Fulham.

Next Fixtures:

Liverpool away next Sunday 4th May with a 4pm Kick off on Sky.

 

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