Football

Manchester City Vs Tottenham Hotspur, Wed 5 May 2010

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Gareth Barry is set to return for Manchester City as the Blues look to put themselves in line for Champions League qualification by beating Tottenham at Eastlands on Wednesday night.

The England star missed Saturday's victory over former club Aston Villa with a hamstring injury but could be back to bolster the City midfield in their biggest game of the season.

Joleon Lescott (hamstring) has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign and Stephen Ireland (ankle) will also miss out.

Ten months hard work has come down to 90 minutes for City - and Roberto Mancini cannot wait.

If Tottenham win, they cannot be caught in fourth. For City it would open up a whole new world, which the huge amount of cash at their disposal makes them ideally placed for.

The enormity of City's potential seems to have inhibited them in recent weeks.

But, after rallying to beat Aston Villa at the weekend, now Mancini knows the Blues are approaching their date with destiny.

"I know this is an important moment for the club," said the Italian.

"We have worked for this. All the players have worked for this target.

"I have worked here for five months. I can build a good future here. We are trying to change the history of the club."

As Mancini's arrival came as a direct result of fears amongst the ownership that City would fail in their top-four quest if Mark Hughes remained as manager, he can hardly avoid the inevitable question marks about his own future at Eastlands.

Yet the former Inter Milan coach insists he will remain next season, no matter how this one ends.

"My future does not come down to this game," he said.

"We have qualified for the Europa League next year, that is important.

"Now we have a chance to do more."

Mancini added: "There is no pressure. It is a football match not a war,

"If you are not happy where you work I don't think you stay. I am happy because I want to build a good team here..

"Being in the Champions League would allow us to progress. It is important for the club and everyone here.

"But we must not be nervous and I don't think the players are. They are all concentrated."

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is sweating on the fitness of centre-half Ledley King and goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

King's long-standing knee problem means he remains a doubt while Gomes has a muscle injury sustained in the win over Bolton at White Hart Lane last weekend.

Young goalkeeper Ben Alnwick stands by to replace Gomes.

Redknapp insists the pressure is all on City.

"There is no pressure on us," declared the former Portsmouth boss. "At the start of the year we all felt that if anyone was going to break in to the top four then realistically it was going to be Manchester City.

"You could see the regular four teams being there with maybe Manchester City the one club that could push into the group with the resources and the money they have spent, so there is no real pressure on us.

"They have bought some fantastic players, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Craig Bellamy, they had a real go in the summer and improved their squad massively.

"I think Manchester City will eventually go on and win the championship in three or four years. It is a powerful outfit with the owners they have got now.

"At the start of the season, we would have been delighted with a European place at the start of the year or being in the top seven, so to have a chance of making the Champions League is great for us.

"To be involved in something at this stage of the season, is a massive game for us. We have been up there all year looking to try and break into the top four at the end of the season.

"It would be nice if we could be there. But it is going to be tough. It's between us and Manchester City. If we don't win tomorrow it will go to the last game.

"We have both got difficult games at the weekend, we go to Burnley and Man City have got a tough game at West Ham.

"Everybody wants to win in front of their fans in the last game of the season, no-one wants to get beat. You don't want to end the season on a downer and Burnley and West Ham will want to win.

"But we will want to go up there and get a positive result."

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Manchester City
Premier League

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