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City welcome back key trio
05 Dec 2008 - 11:29:30
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is confident that the three players he rested for the midweek goalless draw with Paris St Germain will be fit enough to start at Fulham on Saturday lunchtime.
Shaun Wright-Phillips (knee), Micah Richards (ankle) and Robinho (ankle) all picked up minor knocks in the Manchester derby defeat to United but have benefited from a few days of rest.
Hughes said in the build-up to the game against the Cottagers: "I'm hopeful that all three players who were injured in the derby will make it because they've all been progressing well.
"We're looking forward to the weekend but Fulham are a vastly improved side.
"They have a lot of experience in their ranks who understand what the Premier League is all about and have had some decent results but we go there in good shape.
"I'm sure they'll be confident but I have a decent record there and we'll travel feeling confident in the knowledge that it's a game we can win.
"We showed what we could do away from home at Schalke when we went to Germany and did an accomplished, professional job.
"Fulham is a good game for us an, after that, we have a clear week in which to work on the training ground for the first time in a long while and we can structure the week as we like it.
"It was a shame about the derby defeat but we've looked a lot tighter defensively in recent outings. We've done well qualifying from our UEFA Cup group with games to spare and now we must gather points and move up the table.
"We had something like 12 senior players unavailable in midweek and we perhaps didn't have as many options as we'd have liked.
"To add to that, some of those who came into the team hadn't had a great deal of football. We missed a creative spark and hopefully the returning players will give us that."