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Shay goes on air-raid alert

Shay Given 0809

Shay Given 0809

Shay Given expects an aerial bombardment when he faces his former club Blackburn Rovers on Saturday afternoon.

The 33-year-old keeper was at Ewood Park early in his career before making his name in a long and distinguished spell with Newcastle United that ended when he joined City in January.

Since then the Irish international has frequently showed just why he is so highly rated, but he knows full well what he and his Blues team-mates can expect from a Rovers side battling to avoid relegation.

He says, "They are still scrapping for their lives, it will be a tough game. We saw their game against Wigan - there were a lot of long throws, free kicks and corners.

"Sam Allardyce is famous for being so precise in the emphasis he puts on set plays, and it is something we will have to be careful of. They did well against Wigan from set plays - they have some big guys and we know what their main weapons will be.

"Chief amongst Rovers' "big guys" is Chris Samba, and Given could see plenty of the French-born Congo defender, who has been pressed into service as an emergency striker over recent weeks.

"I've had to go into the gym to do some weights this week to get ready for him," laughs Shay. "He is a real handful, and with Rovers scrapping away we know they will be playing to their strengths.

"With two wins in succession, City have come into form at just the right time with the shake-up for a place in next season's Europa League in mind, and Shay is keen to keep it going on home turf on Saturday.

"For us to get the three points away from home was a huge thing after beating West Brom," he adds. "Now we have Blackburn this week. We have to keep this going - the confidence is pretty high at the moment, and that is such a big thing in football. We would love to finish in seventh to get back into Europe."

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Mark Hughes 0809

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Mark Hughes 0809

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