Hughes to take on kings of Denmark without his prince of Wales Bellamy

18 March 2009 10:00
Swift return: Bellamy

Manchester City

boss Mark Hughes has all but ruled out the possibility of Craig Bellamy making a surprise return in Europe tomorrow.

Some reports had suggested the striker, out since the start of the month with a knee injury, could feature in the UEFA Cup clash against Aalborg after recovering quicker than expected.  

But Hughes suggests Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Sunderland

is a more realistic comeback date.  

Hughes said: "We will look at it. It is unlikely Craig will be involved but we are more hopeful for the weekend."  

City travel to Denmark ahead of the second leg of the last-16 tie tomorrow hoping to protect a 2-0 first-leg lead.  

Midfielder Vincent Kompany is pushing for a place and will be given a late fitness test on his toe injury.  

Hughes added: "It is a lot better than it has been, although he is still having a little bit of pain.  

"He had a run out for the first time yesterday and we will make a late decision on him.

"Hopefully we will have the option because he will give us that little bit of strength in the middle of the park we maybe lacked at the weekend."  

Hughes insists there is no room for complacency despite travelling with a comfortable advantage from last week's first leg.  

"They are a good side," he said. "People shouldn't under-estimate the task that is ahead of us.  

Fighting for fitness: Craig Bellamy celebrates scoring for City

"They have caused good teams problems in the past and people shouldn't be distracted by how well we played in the first leg.  

"They didn't play as well as people expected because of the manner of our performance.  

"If they get ahead they are likely to cause you problems. We have to make sure we are in control of the tie."  

A successful run in the competition could yield City's first trophy since 1976.  

Hughes said: "It'd be great for the team and the club. It is important to progress in European competitions. We have enjoyed it so far and hope it can continue."

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Source: Daily_Mail