Johnson hoping for City chance

14 October 2011 01:35

Adam Johnson hopes to seize his chance against Aston Villa after finally becoming accustomed to life under Roberto Mancinis rotation policy at Manchester City.

Given the strength of the squad at Eastlands, Johnson has struggled to nail down a regular spot in the Manchester City team.

But the England winger, 24, appears to have suffered more than most by the consistent reshuffle with the mega-rich club now fighting on four fronts this season with their Champions League involvement.

Johnson, by his own admission, has struggled to find his best form during spells in and out of the side.

But after his wonder goal against Blackburn last time out, the former Middlesbrough wideman hopes he can enjoy a sustained run on the resumption of the Premier League following the international break.

"We know more than ever that this is a squad game and you have to accept you cant play every game," Johnson said.

"Thats what successful sides do and were no different. You just have to make sure that when you are selected, you give it your best shot. Its up to the likes of me to stake a claim when I play."

Mancini is expected to make wholesale changes once again for the visit of unbeaten Aston Villa on Saturday as he manages his injury list ahead of a crucial Champions League meeting with Villarreal next week.

Mario Balotelli (back) is struggling to be fit while Sergio Aguero (groin) is unlikely to be risked. Carlos Tevez, who has served a two-week suspension for his allegedly refusing to play against Bayern Munich, won't be considered.

Mancinis side will come up though against former goalkeeper Shay Given, who moved to the Midlands club in the summer after losing his place to Joe Hart.

"It will be a difficult game for us. They are a strong team who have started the season well," Mancini said.

"It says a lot that they are yet to lose. In that run, Shay has been in fine form. He is a good goalkeeper and a good guy."

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has dropped a broad hint he could be willing to hand striker Emile Heskey a fresh deal.

Former England striker Heskey is in the final year of his existing contract. However, McLeish believes the 33-year-old still has a lot to offer.

"Emile is in the last year of his contract but I don't think he needs to worry about his future," McLeish said.

"Emile is a player who can play anywhere and won't let you down. He is a fantastic professional. I never have cheek from him."

Villa are unbeaten in their first seven Premier League matches, however McLeish concedes this will be their toughest test yet.

"It will be a challenge for us. Its what it is all about. If you want to be a professional footballer and play at the top level it is hard to beat occasions such as this.

"On paper were playing against a team that should win. They have more strength and experience but its 11 against 11."

McLeish has revealed Gabriel Agbonlahor (back), Stephen Ireland (foot), James Collins (foot) and Barry Bannan (Achilles) are also expected to be declared fit.

Agbonlahor has begun the season in fine form having already scored four times, with McLeish adding: "We are very pleased with the way Gabby has trained.

"We put him through it a wee bit and he came through with flying colours. We expect him, barring a nightmare in training and to be okay for the game."

Source: AFP