After the crushing blow to their European aspiration, City need to pick themselves up otherwise they could sink further into decline.
Fulham smell blue blood and after a string of positive away performances, they will be looking to win this game at Eastlands.
If Mark Hughes can rally the troops to a victory, it will be a tremendous achievement given the circumstances and will put them on a fine platform to go for the 2-0 win they require against Hamburg on Thursday.
Mark Hughes commented before the vital home game: ‘We are still very much in the mix for the chase for the Europa League places and Sunday is a very important game in that regard.
‘We will be looking to continue our cracking home form that has seen us win six times in succession.
‘Preparation will not be easy because of the quick turn around.’
Fulham’s saviour, Roy Hodgson said of the game: ‘The motivation has to come from your professionalism.
‘There are 38 games in the season and each one match is important and we will continue preparing in the same way.
‘We’re facing a team which has one player that costs more than all of our team put together so we have to work hard to restrict their time and space.’
Manchester City FC Team News:
Craig Bellamy, Benjani Mwaruwari, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Vincent Kompany and Wayne Bridge are all set to miss out after their respective injuries.
Javier Garrido will probably slot in at left-back while Martin Petrov could feature at some point.
Player to watch: Stephen Ireland
Superman Stevie Ireland made a bold statement about his team the other day, claiming they were ‘hiding’ away from home.
Expect Ireland to lead the way in terms of effort and there is no-doubt he will be City’s star performer.
Fulham FC Team News:
An almost full-strength Fulham side have only Zoltan Gera and Toni Kallio to worry about after picking up slight injuries. Both are expected to recover in time for Sunday’s kick-off.
Player to watch: Andrew Johnson
The bald striker was a fantastic coup for Fulham and has been in outstanding form in every game for them so far.
Johnson has all the tools of the trade to cause a poor City backline problems and Onouha and Dunne will need to do a far better job than they did against hamburg if they are to stop him.
Match Facts & Stats
Manchester City are looking for a seventh successive home victory.
Fulham have the worst away record in the league, yes thats right, even worse than City’s.
Roy Hodgson’s celebrates his 50th Premier League game as Fulham manager.
Mark Halsey officiates Sunday’s game with a low card count of only two reds and 26 yellows in 19 games.
This game is a must win for Mark Hughes’ side to keep 7th place alive. I think that Fulham have a great chance of beating City while they are down and expect them to put on a great away performance that could cause an upset. Mark Hughes almost has enough players in the injury room to field a team with them and we simply cannot afford to lose anyone else. If Hughes turns this into a City win I will be suprised. MCFC 1-1 Fulham.
Home to Hamburg on Thursday 16th April 2009 at 7.45pm.
(Second leg of the UEFA Cup quarter-finals)