Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp lock horns for the third time this season at White Hart Lane today with a place in the Europa League still a distinct possibility.
That would have looked unlikely for either manager at times this season, with Redknapp starting 2008/09 in charge of Portsmouth, who were put to the sword 6-0 by City last September. The south coast was then swapped for north London after a poor start to the season led to the dismissal of Juande Ramos.
The well-travelled Redknapp has masterminded a turnaround in fortunes that has now put Spurs in with a shout of finishing in seventh place, something that Hughes is also aiming for after overseeing the Blues' run to the UEFA Cup quarter final.
City were also near the wrong end of the table around Christmas, but an improved showing in the league in tandem with the UEFA Cup showing has put them within tantalising reach of qualifying for the Europa League, and looking ahead to the visit to the Lane, Hughes states,
"I have said for a number of weeks that the Tottenham game was likely to be the key one we would have in regard to European qualification. That has not changed as we go into the game, we're looking to win our last two games if we can, and if that is the case we could go close to that seventh position.
"Tottenham have similar ambitions to us, and they will have something to say about that. It's important to be positive, because three points would set us up very nicely for the last game at home to Bolton. We would like to be in the position where we go into the last game still very much in the mix.
"We need to create more chances than we did at United, we have the capability to do that and if we do, they key thing is to take them.
"There are other teams in and around us, everything could depend on other teams losing their games to allow us to get what we want. We'll give it a go, there's two games left that mean something which is what we want."
Its 1-1 in the Hughes v Redknapp tale of the tape for the season so far, with Spurs having come from behind to beat City after Redknapp had moved in. Assessing his opposite number, Hughes adds,
"Harry's done a good job, similar to the one I've done myself but I think Harry gets a little bit more credit than I do! He came in at a difficult time, looked at his squad, which was quite strong in fairness, but he felt he had to make a few changes.
"He spent a bit of money in January, as I did - he might have spent a little bit more. He's turned it around there, and they are a good side now. They always had good quality players, but he has them working hard and winning, which is the order of the day."