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Boss aims to raise tempo at 'Gers

Hughes interview keepers

Hughes interview keepers

Mark Hughes is looking for City to step up their preparations for the coming league campaign in tonight’s game at Ibrox.

The Blues go north of the border to take on the Scottish champions on their home turf, but Hughes is not looking for a gentle work-out to ease his side closer towards the forthcoming Barclays Premier League campaign.

Tonight’s two managers are familiar to each other, with Smith having g brought Hughes to Everton for a few months nearly 10 years ago during his stint in charge at Goodison Park, so for Hughes it all adds up to an evening with plenty riding on it.

"We're looking forward to it,” he states, “it will be a good game against quality opposition. No doubt there will be a good crowd at Ibrox to get the competitive juices going so it will be ideal preparation for the new season.

 "We are looking to step up our preparation now. People have tried to read significance into our results so far because of the focus on us, but those games were more about fitness in the grand scheme of things.

 "We have got issues with injuries. Carlos (Tevez) is not training with the group yet and won't travel, but Gareth (Barry) will train and we'll look to introduce him at some stage. Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor are available and will take part.

"The players are at different levels because some were still playing internationals in June. You have to be conscious of that. Some will have the majority of the game and others will play a part." 

Cross-border clashes always have a bit of an edge, precisely what Hughes is looking for and something he can relate to even if, on paper, the game is merely an England v Scotland affair.

He adds, "You know the standard of games like this will be high, and there's always a little bit of feeling in cross-border games! That little edge you need going into the season will be there.

 

Don't imagine that playing the Scots means any less to a Welshman than an Englishman! That old Celtic rivalry comes into it. You look at their stadium and their fans, it's a great place to play and perfect preparation.

Mark Hughes

 

To see more of what Mark has had to say, for free, watch the interview here.

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