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Blues boss salutes Nedum comeback

Nedum Onouha 0809

Nedum Onouha 0809

Nedum has convinced his manager that he should play a key role in City's resurgence - now Mark Hughes wants his determined 22-year-old defender to get the wider recognition that his abilities deserve.

Onouha has finally shaken off the injuries that have blighted his progress and forced his way into Hughes' plans alongside skipper Richard Dunne for an 11-game spell that is his longest run in five years with the Blues.

Their blossoming partnership at the heart of defence played a major part in the UEFA Cup lock-out against Aalborg's Viking raiders on Thursday to suggest that Hughes has unearthed the club's best centre-back combination.

In-form Onuoha, who was made England Under-21 captain earlier this season by former City boss Stuart Pearce, has even weighed in with a rare goal in the 2-2 draw at Copenhagen in the last round of the UEFA Cup.

The Blues manager said: "Nedum has come in and has done really well. Everybody here has a lot of time for him. We knew what a good player he was, but he has been frustrated by injuries in the past.

"That has held him back but he's fit and strong now. Let's hope his run in the team continues, because that's what Nedum needs now.

"His ability is there for all to see. He's a great athlete, and not a bad footballer either. He doesn't get as much credit as he deserves for his ability on the ball, but he's showing that and we're really pleased with him."

Nedum, whose luckless run with injuries includes a dislocated shoulder that needed surgery, signed a new deal last season but had to wait until December to claim a regular place in Hughes' starting line-up.

Dunne's vast experience alongside has been a boon, and now the pair tackle formidable Chelsea striker Didier Drogba on Sunday at Stamford Bridge - a collision that Hughes, a hard competitor as a player, is relishing.

He said: "Drogba will have to overcome Nedum and Richard Dunne, who are in fantastic form at the moment, and I'm looking forward to seeing that battle. It should be interesting at times."

First Team News

Micah believing in Euro glory

First Team News

Hughes salutes a job well done

Mark Hughes 0809

Mark Hughes saluted his UEFA Cup heroes after City outgunned Champions League drop-outs Aalborg 2-0 and gave themselves a great chance of claiming their third Danish victims of the campaign to reach the quarter-finals.

Match Report

City v AaB 12-03-2009