Football

Manchester City Vs West Ham United, Sun 1 May 2011

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini could be tempted to recall Edin Dzeko to the team against West Ham on Sunday at Eastlands.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina striker, a #27million signing from Wolfsburg, scored his first Barclays Premier League goal for the club in the victory against Blackburn after stepping off the bench.

Mancini will again be without injured pair Carlos Tevez and Micah Richards (both hamstring) as well as Jerome Boateng (knee).

Mancini has told James Milner he could still have a key role to play in the remaining weeks of the season.

Milner, 25, has suddenly found himself marginalised as the club bid for a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League for the first time.

They also have the FA Cup final to look forward to on May 14 and a chance to end a 35-year wait for a major trophy.

Milner has not featured in the last two games after being replaced in the 59th minute by David Silva in the 3-0 drubbing by Liverpool, to his obvious annoyance.

In his absence City, defeated Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final and secured a vital victory against Blackburn in the Barclays Premier League last Monday.

However, Milner could have a part to play in the home match against West Ham after some comforting words from Mancini.


 

"James is disappointed he has not played in the last two games, but I trust James," Mancini said. "He is an incredible midfielder.

"I think he can improve a lot, but for this we have time next year. Now we have another five games and the final and he will be an important player in this time."

West Ham have picked up only 13 points from a possible 51 on the road and lost to Chelsea last weekend, but Mancini will not be taking Avram Grant's side lightly.

He wants City to forget about the FA Cup final and keep Tottenham at arm's length in a bid to make Europe's top club competition.

They could move to within to two points of Arsenal should they win their game in hand, but Mancini is refusing to look too far ahead.

He said: "Every game is difficult. We have five league matches to go and need to be at our maximum in every one of them.

"We must take it step by step. Now we have West Ham and our focus will be only on that game.

"I saw them against Chelsea and for 45-60 minutes they played very well. We need to play very well. That is very important."

West Ham are set to be without midfielder Scott Parker.

The England international is still struggling with an Achilles injury and is almost certain to miss the trip to Eastlands, according to manager Grant.

Parker will be joined on the sidelines by fellow midfielders Mark Noble and Gary O'Neil, who are out with hernia and ankle injuries respectively.

Wayne Bridge is ineligible to feature against his parent club, but the Hammers defence will be boosted by the return of Matthew Upson from a chest infection.

West Ham manager Grant has refused to label the encounter at City as the toughest remaining game in their fight for Premier League survival.

The Hammers have endured a tumultuous season that now sees them linger dangerously close to dropping into the npower Championship.

West Ham languish bottom of the table after a four-game losing streak that brought an abrupt end to a mini-revival at Upton Park.

Grant's side now only have four matches to secure their survival, starting against Mancini's City at Eastlands.

Home clashes with Blackburn and Sunderland either side of a trip to Wigan follow, but the Israeli boss insists all their remaining opponents have the potential to damage their survival hopes.

"What is the toughest game? Always the next one," he said. "I cannot say [that City is the hardest].

"I think we can take points from all of these.

"Of course Manchester City away on paper is the toughest one but I think all the other teams will give everything to win the game against us.

"But we could take seven or nine points, I am sure about this."

Asked whether he would be focusing on the other matches rather than the unenviable task of collecting points in Manchester, he retorted: "We don't have any intention to give up before any game even if it is Manchester City away.

"We will try to take points even there.

"Of course the final three games will be the most important games and we believe we can take seven points from these games."

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Topics:
Football
Manchester City
Premier League
West Ham United
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