Richard Dunne will be back and leading the Blues from the front against FC Copenhagen tonight.
That’s the unequivocal message from Mark Hughes as the City squad prepare for the first leg of the UEFA Cup round of 32 tie at the Parken Stadium.
The skipper has missed the last four Barclays Premier League fixtures following his sending off against Wigan in January, but despite several options available to him, the Manager says that Richard will start tonight’s game.
Vincent Kompany has worn the captain’s armband recently and filled in in central defence, but with Nigel de Jong ineligible it is possible that the Belgian will move back into midfield with Dunne resuming his usual duties at the back.
The Manager says, "Dunne will be captain. He has been an outstanding player for City for many, many seasons. Maybe the break will have done him good, and he's had four games out. That will help him, and I think that he will come back refreshed.
It's a long hard season in the Premier League so the enforced break can sometimes be a good thing.
With two dismissals this season, Dunne has faced criticism from some quarters but Hughes says his captain is experienced enough to take it all on the chin.
“Sometimes you have a run of games where things don't go quite right for you and that has a significant impact on results but Dunnie has been involved in these situations before. He is a big lad and he has been in the game long enough to deal with it, such is his strength of character. It won't faze him. He is always prepared to go out there and get going again."
Looking ahead to the game tonight, the Manager is looking to improve on our last game, last Saturday’s defeat at Fratton Park, and he says,
"At the weekend we were disappointing but it can be difficult. You heard what Paul Hart said after the game and their game plan was to hopefully get a draw. We were undone by sucker punches and that happened before at Stoke where we had the vast majority of the play in terms of possession without really creating anything, then we get undone by a couple of attacks and lose the game.
"I don't sense that will happen against Copenhagen. The onus is on them to get a positive result and that may well play into our hands.
"It will a test but with most people talking about our away form of late, our best away performances have been in Europe, so let's hope we can replicate that.”