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City look to get back on track at West Ham

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18 Oct 2013 00:31:53

City look to get back on track at West Ham

Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City will be looking to get their away form back on track when they head to Upton Park to face West Ham on Saturday.

Pellegrini's side have struggled on their travels, taking just one point from three games away from Eastlands in a disappointing run which has undermined their start to the Premier League campaign.

City hope to end that frustrating sequence in east London this weekend and they travel to the capital boosted by the return from injury of several stars.

Captain Vincent Kompany is set to overcome a thigh injury after missing Belgium's two games, while midfielder Jack Rodwell has recovered from a hamstring problem and Argentina defender Martin Demichelis, who joined from Atletico Madrid in August, could feature for the first time after suffering a knee injury last month.

For the first time since he took over in the close-season, Pellegrini finally has a full-strength squad to select from, which will come as a major relief considering the hectic schedule in the weeks ahead.

After the trip to Upton Park, City head to CSKA Moscow, where they need a positive result to stay on course to qualify for the Champions League knock-out phase for the first time, before travelling to Chelsea next weekend.

They then come up against Newcastle in the League Cup, and host Norwich and CSKA Moscow before travelling to Sunderland ahead of the next international break.

After struggling for consistency in the opening phase of the season, it is a period that will test the depth and attitude of Pellegrini's squad.

It will help if Demichelis, recruited to provide cover for Kompany, Matija Nastasic and Joleon Lescott, can finally making his City debut after coming through a midweek reserve match.

"It was important to play and get the confidence back. I felt great and it was important to feel what a game is like again," he said.

"My knee responded very well and I'm very happy after working very hard to get here.

"It was difficult at the beginning with the injury but that allowed me to meet everybody at the club and feel confident and comfortable with everybody, so it's fantastic now and I'm looking forward to my debut."

City have enjoyed a fine recent record against West Ham, with just one defeat in their last 14 meetings stretching back to 2006.

But Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has reminded his side that more stunning performances like the 3-0 win against Tottenham last time out will get his players rewards home and abroad.

With the likes of Ravel Morrison and injured Andy Carroll looking to make England's World Cup squad, Allardyce believes that incentive could be a great tool in getting the best out of his players.

"We have several international players in our squad and I think that the Andy Carrolls of this world will want to get fit and play well for West Ham as soon as he can," he said.

"It will be at the back of his mind that the World Cup is coming and he wants to be a part of that squad.

"Whether anybody else shows themselves to be good enough to do that will be up to them and how they perform between now and the end of the season.

"For us it's about all those players delivering on a regular basis to have a very, very good season and when that happens, you're likely to be noticed by Roy Hodgson and his staff so we'll wait and see.

"We'll continue to grow as a team and hopefully some of our players will continue to catch the eye."


AFP

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