Mancini prepares for crucial month

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Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is ready to test the depth of his squad as they begin their tough January schedule with two games in three days.

Mancini's title hopefuls travel to Sunderland on New Year's Day before hosting Liverpool on January 3.

City then face arch-rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup and have a two-legged Carling Cup semi-final with Liverpool as well as games against Wigan and Tottenham before the end of the month, and Mancini said: "It is impossible to play in two days with the same players, this is sure."

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