Man City V Blackburn at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

14 January 2014 03:01
Man City V Blackburn - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Aguero boost for City

Sergio Aguero could be back in Manchester City's attack as Blackburn visit the Etihad Stadium for their FA Cup third-round replay this week.

The prolific Argentinian striker, who has scored 19 goals this season, has missed City's last eight games with a calf injury.

His return is ahead of the initial prognosis, when it was thought his comeback could be uncomfortably close to next month's Champions League clash against Barcelona.

It is also timely with playmaker Samir Nasri facing up to eight weeks on the sidelines with knee ligament damage.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: "Sergio is working with normality with the whole squad and he is on the squad list for tomorrow.

"He is a very important player for us. It doesn't matter if we are scoring a lot of goals, Sergio will always be a very important player and we are happy he is coming back."

Aguero's return is also welcome as the fixtures mount. The replay against Blackburn is an unwanted complication as City continue to pursue success in four competitions.

Pellegrini said: "It is very important because we have not only important games, but a lot of games, and all of them are important for us.

"We are the only team in all four competitions and we want to continue."

Pellegrini's attention now turns to overcoming Championship Blackburn, who caused City problems when they met at Ewood Park earlier this month.

Alvaro Negredo put City ahead but Rovers deservedly claimed a draw after a Scott Dann equaliser.

Pellegrini said: "They didn't surprise me, I think they played a very good match at home.

"I am absolutely sure that we must play a very good match if we want to win because they are very motivated.

"They are a very strong team, they know exactly the way they want to play.

"They are strong in defending, for counter-attacks, for different set-pieces and trying to score a goal. It will be very close."

Gary Bowyer believes his Blackburn team will relish the role of the underdog.

Only European champions Bayern Munich have avoided defeat in the 15 games City have hosted this season and sides such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham have been handed severe beatings with Pellegrini's men netting 59 goals en route.

Those statistics give an indication of the gargantuan task facing Rovers, who held City to a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park to set up the replay in Manchester.

However, Bowyer's side have lost just one of their previous eight games and the Blackburn boss insists they make the trip in a buoyant mood as they try to halt the juggernaut that is City at the Etihad.

"Everyone's excited and relishing the challenge of going to a fantastic stadium to play a fantastic team," said Bowyer.

"We've got everything to gain; no one outside of our dressing room gives us a prayer and they are situations we quite like. We learn more about our players and they're really going to be tested on Wednesday. The players are excited about the opportunity to play against them again.

"No one gave us a chance last time we played them - and we managed to get a draw - and likewise this time. They are formidable at home but we'll be telling our players to go and have a good go at it and enjoy it and express themselves. We'll see how far they've come."

Source: PA

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