Man City v Middlesbrough preview

06 February 2009 11:40
Manchester City host Middlesbrough in the early Premier League kick-off on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1.

City are coming into the game on the back of their defeat to 10-man Stoke, but they are unbeaten at home in three matches.

Boro are on one of the worst runs in their recent history having now gone 12 league games with a victory.

The Teesside club's woeful form has seen them plummet into the relegation zone and only goal difference is keeping them off the bottom.

However, the closeness of this season means a win at City could lift Boro five places.

A high scoring match appears unlikely from the outset, City have only scored six goals in nine Premier League matches at home to Boro, who in turn have themselves never scored more than once in those matches.

Team newsCity are boosted by the news that Shaun Wright-Phillips is available to play after he appealed for more time to answer an FA charge of violent conduct.

Likewise, Micah Richards is in the squad, despite being arrested for an alleged assault earlier this week.

There is also set to be a home debut for new signing Shay Given, who completed his move from Newcastle earlier this week.

Boro are boosted by the return of Didier Digard and Gary O'Neil from suspension and both could feature.

Matthew Bates and Josh Walker started against Blackburn, but both could drop out to make way for Digard and O'Neil.

Afonso Alves will also be pushing for a recall after boss Gareth Southgate opted for Tuncay Sanli and new signing Marlon King last time out against Rovers.

At the back Brad Jones is likely to retain his place in goal, but it remains to be seen if David Wheater will continue at right-back with Tony McMahon and Justin Hoyte looking to start.

Jeremie Aliadiere is back in training but is short of fitness and would not be considered.

Possible starting XIsMan City Given, Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, De Jong, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho.

Boro Jones, Hoyte, Huth, Riggott, Pogatetz, Johnson, O'Neil, Digard, Downing, King, Alves.

Source: SKY_Sports