First Team News

Video 1 Gallery

Old Firm the ideal test for Nigel

Nigel de Jong

Nigel de Jong

This week's Old Firm double-header is the ideal test ahead of the new season, according to Nigel de Jong.

The combative Dutch midfielder played against Rangers on Wednesday and is hoping that he'll get the call when Celtic complete City's pre-season fixtures at home today.

Nigel played the first half on Wednesday, which saw City slip to defeat when David Weir hammered home the winner in the 90th minute, and reflecting on the Ibrox game he declares,

"We've got a week until the start of the season, so you need a couple of stronger opponents to lead into that. Rangers were certainly that, and Celtic will be as well. Some of us are off on internationals next week, so we have to start right now. Rangers were a good test, but we want to get better against Celtic on Saturday.

"The new players have to blend in, and that's not easy. For them it's a new club, a new environment and we all have to get to know each other a bit more before the real work begins.

"The first half on Wednesday showed that we really can play football, all of us, and having Ade up front is great. He's strong and he can keep the ball really well, and that allows the midfielders to get around him. The atmosphere in the squad is good."

Emmanuel Adebayor impressed once again in Glasgow in his third pre-season outing, and his all-round contribution already impresses his Dutch team-mate, who adds,

"Ade's great in the air, but he's got a great technique on the ground as well. He could make a big difference for us this season. He's joined because we are trying to make ourselves into the biggest club, he knows what is involved and that there's a lot of hard work to earn his place in the team. He's doing well in training, and he's a good for the group as well."

Wednesday night also saw Nigel combine once again with Gareth Barry, and the England international's many years of know-how in the top flight are something Nigel is looking to help him as his education in English football continues.

"He's a good left-footer, which you always need, and his experience in the Premier League is going to be very important for the team. With having played so many games, he knows how it is and how a lot of opponents work. It's great he's on our side rather than against us.

"Gareth's helping me as well, we're sharing our experiences. I've played in other leagues but I've only been here six months and I need to learn how the Premier League works. I've not played in every ground yet, so it's good that he's alongside me to help me out."

First Team News

Old Blue Sami returns a hero

Hughes interview keepers

Georgios Samaras is back in town tomorrow for the prestige friendly with Celtic - and the welcome he receives from Blues fans will be drowned out by the roar that greets the midweek hero from 6,000 Hoops supporters.

First Team News

Donal loaned to Chesterfield

First Team News

Rocky takes an opening round KO

Hughes talking Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz, one of Mark Hughes' stellar summer signings, will miss the start of the campaign as City's coaching staff guide the former Bayern Munich and Blackburn striker back to full fitness.