Date: 14th August 2009 at 5:37pm
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New Season’s Eve. All around Planet Blue hopes and dreams will be rekindled as City’s strongest squad in decades braces itself for action. And Sparky has spoken…

The City gaffer, no doubt mindful of the fact that this squad is now very much of just about his own making is as determined as ever to realise success this season.

He told t’official site:

‘This season is a huge challenge for every one of us but I sense, having worked with the group since we came back for pre-season, that the focus of the players and their intensity is as good as it has ever been. We have to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to be successful.’

He’ll know too that City, although struck by a fair number of annoying injuries cannot afford to mince about away from home the way they did all last season. The Premier League was awash with sides bullying the visiting Blues and time and again we showed sides far too much respect, failing abjectly to go for the throat the way we did at Eastlands. The boss continued:

‘We go into the season with a lot of focus on us which I think we have dealt with very well. That will intensify again now and we have to concentrate on achieving what we want to achieve. We don’t want to disappoint people; we did that on too many occasions last season particularly away from home. We will address that and if we do so successfully then we will have a good season.’

Blackburn have made no secret of their plans to batter City tomorrow and Hughesy is aware of it:

‘Clubs are not going to just step aside and let us through. The challenge is there for us but it is there for other clubs too. They will want to stop our ambitions and will use that in their team talks and in their preparations for games against us. I do the same. I use things other managers say about us because it brings us closer together as a group.’

The gaffer clearly hinting there at the fact that he has postered up Sir Taggarts recent infamous belittling ‘small club, small mentality’ quote at the Carrington training base.

Finally, a call to arms. The vast majority of City fans have given the manager something of a clean slate this summer. Clearly backing the initiative and loyalty afforded by Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and City owner Sheikh Mansour in the name of stability. Now is the time to start delivering:

‘We are excited about the season. We are as prepared as we can be and aware of all the expectations. We know that you cannot guarantee success but we will be doing everything we can within our powers to make it happen.’

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