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First Team News

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Boss aims to upset old pal Zola

Mark Hughes 0809

Mark Hughes 0809

Mark Hughes is looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with an old friend down at Upton Park tomorrow ... and trying to ruin his day.

City's manager once formed a productive partnership at Chelsea with new West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola, but there will be no old pals act between two sides chasing a qualifying berth for the UEFA Cup next season.

Hughes, whose reinvigorated side followed two encouraging away draws with an exciting 2-1 midweek win over Copenhagen, sees similarly in-form West Ham as a good test of his team's tougher resolve on the road.

He said: "I had the pleasure of playing alongside Franco at Chelsea for two years - a fine footballer and an outstanding guy. I'm delighted that he's been able make his mark so quickly as a manager. It's not going to be an easy weekend.

"But it's important that we keep our run going. We're more confident with our positive results and now we're looking for another. They're getting used to each other and the more they play alongside each other, the better they will become.

"West Ham are playing good football, a short passing game with good quality up front. Carlton Cole is doing well, he's always had the talent but has possibly under-achieved in previous seasons.

"It's another test for us, a difficult place to go. It was always a bit tasty when I was a player with United and Chelsea. But I used to enjoy it, there's always a great atmosphere. It's up to us to go there and quieten them down."

Skipper Richard Dunne added: "Our aim at the stat of the season was a UEFA Cup place. We've been inconsistent but we're only three points off seventh place and hopefully that would get us in for next season.

"We have to make sure we are in Europe next time, whether by finishing high enough up the table or by winning this season's competition. We've not been picking up enough points on the road, but we've done better recently.

"West Ham are playing reasonably well themselves, so it should be a good game. We're hoping that we've turned the corner in the past week or so - we're looking hard to beat at the moment, so maybe we're playing West Ham at the right time."

First Team News

Skipper sounds charge for UEFA glory

Richard Dunne 0809

Richard Dunne is relishing his third slice of Danish - and the Blues skipper admits that the belief is growing in the dressing-room that the European odyssey could have everybody talking Turkey before the end of the campaign.

First Team News

Boss pays tribute to goal hero Bellamy

Match Report

City v FC Copenhagen 26-02-2009