Manchester City Vs Wigan Athletic, Mon 29 Mar 2010

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Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland should be fit for Monday's Barclays Premier League encounter with Wigan at Eastlands.

Ireland limped out of Wednesday's loss to Everton before half-time with an ankle injury but the problem is no more than bruising.

Striker Emmanuel Adebayor is available to return after serving a four-game suspension.

Joleon Lescott (hamstring), Wayne Bridge (groin) and Martin Petrov (knee) remain on the sidelines with long-term casualty Michael Johnson (knee).

City defender Kolo Toure has called for the club to stick with manager Roberto Mancini.

There has been speculation about the Italian's future in recent weeks, which intensified after City's hopes of securing a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League were dented by a 2-0 home defeat against Everton in midweek.

That match also saw Mancini charged with improper conduct by the FA after a touchline fracas with Toffees boss David Moyes.

But former Arsenal centre-half Toure wants Mancini to be given plenty of time at Eastlands, even if the club do not secure Champions League football.

Toure was quoted in the Sunday Telegraph, saying: "It's really difficult to beat us and what he (Mancini) brings is that every time we play, we feel really strong. He's bringing experience and he knows what he wants to do for this club and he needs time.

"You can't keep changing managers. Every time the players have to adapt to a new strategy and the thinking of the new manager, which is really difficult and takes time. With Roberto we're starting to know what he really wants and he's working well."

Wigan could again be without playmaker Charles N'Zogbia.

The French winger missed last week's injury-time defeat of Burnley with a hip injury and manager Roberto Martinez concedes the Eastlands trip is also likely to come too soon.

Defender Emmerson Boyce is making better progress after being sidelined with back and groin problems and could be back in contention.

The 30-year-old is hoping to return to training to prove his fitness over the weekend.

Martinez has no fresh injury worries.

Martinez is a huge admirer of Mancini - but has no sympathy over the pressures he is facing at City.

Mancini only took charge at Eastlands last December but it has been widely claimed he must deliver Champions League football to keep his job this summer.

Finishing in the top four of the Barclays Premier League appears to be the ambitious City owners' minimum requirement, but the competition is tough with Tottenham, Liverpool and Aston Villa all pressing.

City missed an opportunity to seize the initiative in the top-four race by losing to Everton last week and Mancini will be looking to bounce back against Martinez's men at home tomorrow.

"I felt he made an immediate impact," said Martinez of the former Inter Milan coach's arrival at City.

"You don't want to see managers losing their jobs halfway through a season like Mark Hughes did but when Mancini came in, straight away he did things in a different way.

"You could see he was using his experience - from a completely different league in Serie A - and I think his impact in the squad was quite impressive.

"You could see the results he had and slowly he is going to shape the team in his own manner.

"He is an extremely experienced and talented manager and he has given that extra spice to the Premier League."

Yet Martinez, with his own problems to address in trying to keep Wigan in the top flight, has no time to concern himself with City's top-four aspirations.

The Spaniard added: "Every football club, every manager has their own pressures in their own way, so I have no time to feel sympathy for anyone else.

"But, to be fair, he is such a talented manager I think he will be able to cope with any pressure."

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

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Manchester City
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Wigan Athletic

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