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First Team News

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SWP losing his race against time

Shaun Wright Phillips 0809

Shaun Wright Phillips 0809

Shaun Wright-Phillips, often seen as the heartbeat of the Blues after his welcome return from Chelsea, has missed the last four matches after coming off in the UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg at Hamburg with a damaged ankle.

But City have won three of those games without their talismanic winger, including the breakthrough 2-1 victory at Everton last week to end a frustrating eight-month spell without an away win in the Premier League.

Brazil star Elano has rediscovered his best form while filling in for Wright-Phillips, and manager Hughes will be faced with a selection dilemma soon, though he could play both by leaving out a holding midfielder.

City boss Hughes confirmed: "Shaun is still feeling a bit of discomfort and is likely to miss out."

Micah Richards is still feeling some discomfort in the knee injury that forced him to limp off at Goodison. Hughes said: "He probably won't train, we'll keep him indoors today but we're hopeful he might be available."

As reported yesterday here on www.mcfc.co.uk, Pablo Zabaleta is unlikely to be available for Saturday and expects to be back in the frame next week. Striker Danny Sturridge has not trained all week and is "a doubt".

Bulgarian internationals Valeri Bojinov and Martin Petrov, who scored all the goals in a 3-1 midweek victory for the reserves over Everton, are likely to be on the bench. Hughes said: "We felt they needed a bit more game time, and both did well."  

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Shaun Wright Phillips 0809

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Mark Hughes pitchside 0809

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Stephen Ireland 0809

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