Mark Hughes: Emmanuel Adebayor needs time to shine for Manchester City again
The £25 million striker is set to face Aston Villa on Monday after completing a three-match ban and then having a two-match suspension held over until the end of 2010 for his controversial goal celebration against former club Arsenal. Having scored in each of City's four league games immediately prior to picking up his suspension for an ill-judged attack on Robin van Persie, Adebayor did look unstoppable. But Hughes knows it would be asking a lot of the Togo star to reach that standard again so quickly. "His form before this happened was outstanding," said Hughes. "We want him to come back at the same level. "It may take him a couple of games to reach it. We hope not. But only time will tell." Hughes is eager to draw a line under the Arsenal game but there is a minor irritation at the £25,000 fine that was imposed. Although the money is not going to make much of an impact on Adebayor's weekly salary, which is assumed to exceed £100,000-a-week, it is five times more than Gary Neville was forced to shell out for his inflammatory celebration against Liverpool in 2006. The fact is not lost on Hughes, although he is satisfied Adebayor is free to play again. "When you look at similar cases in the past you could argue that the fine is bigger," said Hughes. "But we knew there was a chance Emmanuel may have got more games so we are grateful that hasn't happened." With Adebayor back in the squad and Roque Santa Cruz confirming his well-being with a substitute appearance in Monday's defeat of West Ham, Hughes has all four front-line strikers available for the first time. Robinho's continued absence with an ankle injury does at least provide an opportunity to play Craig Bellamy in a wider role on the left, although with Stephen Ireland now fit after a sickness bug and Vincent Kompany training properly following a toe operation, Hughes has some big decisions to make. One man virtually certain to play is England international Gareth Barry, who has been an outstanding success since his £12million transfer from Villa at the start of the summer. The Villa supporters were unimpressed when Barry decided to quit. But a run of four wins from five games matched the form of City until last weekend's unexpected reverse at Blackburn. And Martin O'Neill insists the damage has not been too bad. "Teams have to adjust and correct themselves when they lose an obvious talent like Gareth," said Hughes. "Martin was making the point that they have been able to adjust and the impact has not been as great as it was initially feared. "That doesn't mean they don't miss him. It is maybe a case of looking at their own resources and changing the way they play. "I can understand that. Life moves on."
Related Manchester City News