Man City v Sunderland preview

20 March 2009 11:41
Manchester City will aim to continue their excellent home form when they tackle Sunderland on Sunday.

Mark Hughes' men have been poor on the road all season and they nearly bowed out of the Uefa Cup on Thursday following a 2-0 defeat to Aalborg in Denmark.

Shay Given came to their rescue as the tie went to penalties, making two saves to ensure progression to the last eight.

Hughes will hope that his players are buoyed by the success rather than tired after playing for 120 minutes and then making the long trip home.

He will assess the fitness of his squad closer to kick-off but nobody was forced off with an injury against Aalborg.

Nigel de Jong, not registered for the Uefa Cup, is almost certain to return to the starting line-up.

Robinho is likely to keep his place despite another disappointing performance and the Brazilian will be desperate to grab his first club goal of 2009.

Ched Evans could make way for Craig Bellamy if the more senior Welshman manages to recover from a knee problem.

City have won their last five Premier League games at Eastlands and another three points would boost their hopes of qualifying for the revamped UEFA Europa League.

LimboVictory for Sunderland would draw them level on points with City and leave both sides in mid-table limbo, with the threat of relegation remaining.

The Black Cats will be determined to take something out of the game as they are currently just three points above the drop zone.

Ricky Sbragia's men have collected just two points from their last four games and lost 2-1 at home to Wigan in their most recent outing.

Anton Ferdinand has missed the last two games and Nyron Nosworthy the last nine with hamstring injuries, but the defensive duo are back in full training and could return to the side.

Tal Ben-Haim is unavailable under the terms of his loan agreement with City, while Kieran Richardson completes a two-match ban.

Midfielder Teemu Tainio is to see a specialist again over his knee problem after an injection failed to solve the complaint.

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

Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Collins, McCartney, Malbranque, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Reid, Jones, Cisse.

Source: SKY_Sports