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Season 2008/09

City assess the walking wounded

  • 10 April 2009 11:00
  • Posted byTim Oscroft

Mark Hughes admits that City are facing an uphill battle to get several key players fit for some crucial games over the next few days.

Three home games in a week now follow hot on the heels of the trip to Germany for the UEFA Cup quarter final first leg with Hamburg, which the Blues lost 3-1.

City were down to 10 men when Benjani hobbled off just before the end due to a reoccurrence of his long-standing thigh problem. Craig Bellamy made it to the end but now needs to have a knee complaint assessed, and Shaun Wright-Phillips has a sore ankle that saw him substituted with seven minutes left in Germany.

Vincent Kompany missed out on the chance to play against his previous club due to a hamstring strain, and of the Belgian Hughes says, "It is touch and go as to whether he will be available for the second leg, but we hope that he will because that will be a big plus for us.

"Wayne Bridge felt a slight tweak in the hamstring during the game, and it is obviously impinging on him at the moment. We managed it as well as we could beforehand, but he overstretched for a ball and was compromised. We will have a look and see if he is available for the weekend, but I would suggest he won't be, although if it settles down then we would hope that he would be available for next Thursday."

The squad returns to Manchester on Friday afternoon and has two days to prepare for Sunday's Barclays Premier League encounter with Fulham.

The boss continues, "It's a quick turnaround, and we are going to have to count heads to see how many fit bodies we will have for the weekend. We will pick ourselves up, we are doing all the recovery programmes in Germany before coming back, which is important when you play in Europe. Then we go again.

"We need to regroup now and look to get a good result on Sunday, then we will be in positive shape for the second leg."

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