Mancini: SWP can have City future

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Football News

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claims Shaun Wright-Phillips still has a role to play at Eastlands this season.

The England winger was expected to leave the club during the January transfer window after falling out of favour since Mancini succeeded Mark Hughes in December 2009. Hughes was interested in taking the 29-year-old to his current club Fulham on loan but the proposed move fell through.

"Last week Shaun had a problem with his back but it is possible he could come in on the bench on Saturday against West Brom," said Mancini of the player who is likely to enjoy more first team opportunities after Adam Johnson was consigned to a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

"He will be important for the rest of the season because he is a good player. If he finds his confidence again it is possible."

City's hopes of claiming the title have been dented after collecting just one point from their last two games against Aston Villa and Birmingham. They are now eight points behind leaders Manchester United having played a game more but they hope to start clawing back the deficit by beating the Baggies and winning at Old Trafford next week.

Mancini said: "At this moment we have one game (Carlos) Tevez injured, one game Yaya (Toure) injured, Mario (Balotelli) injured for a long time. When all these players recover and we play with all players that we have we can arrive at the top.

"If we win against West Brom and in the next game against United that would be very good for us because we can change our situation.

"We can win against United. Until now United have never lost but it can happen that they can lose one game - it could be a derby. With our team we can win there but we know it will be difficult."

Mancini hopes to have controversial £24million striker Balotelli back in contention for the Manchester derby. The 20-year-old Italian has not featured since scoring a hat-trick against Aston Villa on December 28 due to a knee problem but is close to fitness.

"Balotelli I hope will be available for United, maybe not for the whole game but on the bench if possible," Mancini said. "I think in one week he can be on the bench and in 10 days he can play."

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

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West Bromwich Albion
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Manchester United
Mark Hughes
Aston Villa
Adam Johnson
Shaun Wright-Phillips

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