Mark Hughes insists Martin Petrov will have a major role to play at Manchester City this season.
The 30-year-old fears he has no future at City following the arrival of so many new faces since he was signed from Atletico Madrid by Sven-Goran Eriksson two years ago and was hoping for a deadline-day move to Tottenham.
"Martin is a big part of what we are trying to do," said Hughes. "He has not been a negative influence in any way and I know if I pick him from the start he will make a positive contribution."
He added: "Martin is not starting games because I am playing a different formation that lends itself to Craig Bellamy playing on the left and he has been absolutely outstanding.
"That has made it difficult for Martin to get back into the team.
"He understands that. But he also knows I will use different personnel against certain opposition and he can make an impact."
What may assist Petrov's hopes of a starting spot against Fulham on Wednesday is the knee injury Carlos Tevez suffered on international duty with Argentina earlier this month.
Although he came through Sunday's stormy Manchester derby without a problem, Hughes might not want to take any risks knowing Emmanuel Adebayor must also sit out Monday night's Premier League encounter with West Ham and Roque Santa Cruz will not be fully fit, even if he is finally available.
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