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Blackpool v Manchester City: Preview
Published : 16 Oct 2010 20:55:13
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has no fresh injury worries ahead of Manchester City's visit to Bloomfield Road on Sunday.
Matt Gilks (leg), Neal Eardley (ankle) and Craig Cathcart (back) were forced out of international duty with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively but have all recovered.
Keith Southern will be pushing for a start after returning to full fitness following a knee injury while Billy Clarke, Alex Baptiste (both knee) and Louis Almond (shoulder) remain on the sidelines.
Holloway described City's trip to Blackpool as probably "the biggest mismatch in the history of football".
Roberto Mancini's multi-millionaires visit Bloomfield Road for the first time in the Barclays Premier League with the sides only four points apart following Blackpool's stunning start to the season.
The Seasiders have won three away games, most recently against Liverpool at Anfield two weeks ago, and are now looking for their first home victory of the season.
They will have fewer tougher tests than City, who currently sit second in the table and on track to qualify for the Champions League for the first time.
Holloway said: "They've got fantastically wealthy owners, they were the biggest spenders by a mile this summer and they're hoping that will buy them all sorts of success and trophies.
"And then there's us trying to stay in the division and trying to hang on to our new-found heights, so to speak.
"To me it's just one team against another, but from an outsider's point of view, it probably is the biggest mismatch in the history of football, but let's see what we can do."
Blackpool have provided the surprise story of the Premier League so far, and they have achieved their results without Holloway compromising his commitment to attacking football.
But he knows it is their work ethic that is the Tangerines' biggest asset, and he has stressed to his players that there must be no let-up on Sunday.
"If we don't work hard on Sunday I can tell you what the score's going to be," he said.
"I can't tell you how many it will be, but Manchester City will win."
Mancini has declared Jerome Boateng fit to face Holloway's side.
Boateng missed Germany's midweek encounter with Kazakhstan after picking up a virus but has now recovered and is expected to feature at Bloomfield Road.
Mancini has warned his City players they must deliver a performance better than the one they produced against Chelsea.
Either Mancini was the victim of a wind-up or he had his tongue stuck firmly in his cheek when he claimed Sunday's visit to Blackpool had been likened to a day out in Rimini.
Yet he was being deadly serious when he assessed the challenge that lies ahead.
"I have watched Blackpool three or four times and this will be a very tough game," the City manager said.
"I have a lot of respect for them. If we want to win there we must play better than we did against Chelsea."
Mancini has a lot of admiration for the positive approach Holloway has ensured his side adopt, even on the toughest of away days.
"They play good football," acknowledged Mancini.
"What I like is that they don't just defend and wait for something to happen just because they don't want to concede a goal.
"They play in a different way because they want to score.
"That is a good thing for the manager. And the manager is good anyway."