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Stars out but not down says Bow

Mark Bowen

Mark Bowen

City's brilliant flying start to the season has neatly solved any problem manager Mark Hughes might have feared over leaving out some of his star names.

Assistant boss Mark Bowen reckons it has been easier for the absentees to accept when they see the performances that have brought five successive League and cup victories.

Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong and Nedum Onuoha, all stalwarts last season, have missed out on matches and Bowen said: "As Mark has said, all the players have to get used to it.

"He will pick what he feels is the best team to go and win every game. He knows that when you get the result and win, maybe it's easier for the players out of the team to understand that it's all for the benefit of the Club.

"The players who are on the bench are fully behind the team - it's handshakes all round, pats on the back and wishing the lads who are playing all the best in the game. That sort of spirit bodes well for us.

"There were a lot of questions being asked before the season started about how Mark was going to keep these players happy. People thought it would be difficult.

Well yes, it is difficult, but top players have a tremendous amount of respect for other players

Mark Bowen


 "They know the game very well, and if they see on the training ground the way their team-mates are performing, that healthy respect carries through to the weekend.

"They are more willing to accept that 'it's my turn this week to sit and watch and rest'. They are more ready to accept that when there are top players in the team."

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Bowen praise for Bellamy

Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy will dash into the derby in brilliant form and boosted by a heartfelt tribute from Blues assistant boss Mark Bowen after his performance against Arsenal.

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Best for nearly half a century

Shay Given

When the Blues step out at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon they will do so having posted their best start in the English top flight for 48 years.

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Tevez set for a derby blow