No worries for Hughes

Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 by PA

Mark Hughes reports no fresh injury concerns as Manchester City look to maintain their 100% start to the Premier League season at Portsmouth.

Hughes named an impressively strong line-up for Thursday night's Carling Cup win at Crystal Palace and could keep the same side.

Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong would both hope for a chance to shine, although they may have to be content with a place on the bench.

Hughes has found it impossible to plan for the 'Abu Dhabi derby' because he does not have a clue what squad Portsmouth are likely to be choosing from.

Twelve months into the City revolution, the Blues tackle a club that is in roughly the same state as they were this time last year.

There may be subtle differences between City and Portsmouth - size of stadium and support being counterbalanced by the memory of an FA Cup in the south coast outfit's trophy cabinet two years ago, compared to the Blues' which has been completely bare for over three decades - but interest in their respective takeovers is huge.

Sulaiman al-Fahim was the initial front-man for the Abu Dhabi United Group's takeover of City last year, only to be dumped for making statements too grandiose for the conservative tastes of Sheikh Mansour.

Instead, he turned his attentions elsewhere and, after a summer of turmoil at Fratton Park, is now aiming to bring some semblance of stability to a Portsmouth outfit yet to collect a point this term.

"I am not privy to all the details of the Portsmouth deal or how much money is going to be invested in the club," observed Hughes.

"It is a positive sign for Portsmouth. The previous owners were able to fund them to a certain extent and it brought them success in the FA Cup.

"But it needs to be sustained over a longer period. That is the thing we have.

"Our owners have a long vision for the club and this is just the beginning. We know our owners are not in it for the short term."

Pompey goalkeeper David James looks set to overcome a knee injury to face former club.

James trained on Friday and manager Paul Hart is confident he will be fit, while new recruits Tommy Smith and Michael Brown could make their debuts. However, Hart's squad has been weakened by the sale of Sylvain Distin to Everton.

The game comes too soon for Hermann Hreidarsson, who is still suffering with hamstring trouble, and Steve Finnan and Papa Bouba Diop both face another two weeks out with a similar injury.




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