Hull City Vs Manchester City, Sat 6 Feb 2010

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Hull forward Geovanni will be unavailable to face former team Manchester City after suffering a minor medial ligament problem.

The Brazilian has gone to Portugal for a short spell of treatment which should see him return to Britain early next week and be in contention for the midweek trip to Blackburn.

Nigeria midfielder Seyi Olofinjana is available after returning from the African Nations Cup while Jimmy Bullard remains around three weeks away from action after a knee problem.

Hull manager Phil Brown believes the rapid rise of teenage midfielder Tom Cairney is further proof the club is healthier than ever despite their relegation battle.

Cairney, 19, made his debut in last weekend's 2-2 draw with relegation rivals Wolves and impressed sufficiently to keep his place when title-chasing Chelsea came to town on Tuesday.

The Nottingham-born youngster produced another excellent performance in the 1-1 draw with Carlo Ancelotti's side and can have high hopes of starting again when Manchester City come to the KC Stadium despite growing competition for places.

Though the club sit third from bottom in the Barclays Premier League, Brown believes the emergence of Cairney and steady progress of fellow youngsters Liam Cooper and Mark Cullen is evidence of a positive future for the cash-strapped club.

He said: "Tom Cairney, in the light of Jimmy Bullard's long-term injury and one or two falling by the wayside in terms of form and then Seyi Olofinjana going to the African Nations Cup, has grabbed his chance.

"It's a long-term plan. With Tom, Liam Cooper and Mark Cullen, the future of the club is looking a lot more healthy than it ever has done when you've got two or three knocking at the door. They are all local boys as well."

Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards look certain to miss out as Wayne Bridge makes his long-awaited comeback for Manchester City.

While Bridge has recovered from a knee injury and is set to end a two-month absence and play for the first time since the furore exploded about his private life, Richards (calf) and Kompany (groin) are not likely to be involved at the KC Stadium.

Patrick Vieira is set to make his debut after arriving from Inter Milan last month with a calf injury while fellow new arrival Adam Johnson should also be involved and Joleon Lescott (knee) is fit enough to take a place on the bench.

Roberto Mancini has dismissed the theory that Vieira's legs have gone - and insisted the Frenchman's World Cup dream can propel Manchester City into the Champions League.

A month after his arrival from Inter Milan, Vieira is set to make his Blues debut at Hull.

The calf injury Vieira sustained in his final game for Inter proved more difficult to recover from than Mancini first thought.

In the meantime, City have encountered two games - at Everton and Manchester United - that proved exactly why Mancini wanted to be reunited with the 33-year-old despite all the doubters who claim Vieira is a spent force.

"I don't think so," countered Mancini. "I know Patrick wants to go to the World Cup and for this reason alone I feel he can be very important for us over the next three or four months. He is a big player, both on the pitch and in the mind.

"We lost two games recently, against Everton and Manchester United. They were both very different games and at Everton I felt we were tired. But Patrick is so experienced maybe we would not have lost those games if he had been in the team."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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