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Robi stays but he faces a fight

Manchester Citys Robinho

Manchester Citys Robinho

Mark Bowen has warned Robinho that he will have to fight for his place along with the rest of his team-mates when he recovers from injury.

But City's assistant manager also sent a clear message to his persistent suitors Barcelona that the sought-after Brazil star remains an important figure in the Blueprint for success.

The European champions have been strongly linked over the past week with a bid in the January transfer window for long-time target Robinho, who is close to recovering from a stress fracture.

But Bowen and manager Mark Hughes have become immune to the bi-annual rumour mill. Bowen said: "Robi is one of those players who will always be surrounded by rumour and speculation.

 

It doesn't concern him - he comes in and always does his work with a smile on his face. He's a great guy and very much a part of the manager's plans.

...Mark Bowen...

 

Robinho, out since August, has seen Craig Bellamy flourish on the left in his absence and is desperate to regain full fitness in time for the Carling Cup tie with Scunthorpe in two weeks.

Bowen said: "He's a naturally-fit guy who doesn't carry a lot of weight, so once he's back training with the group it doesn't take him much time to be right. Once he comes back he'll be ready to put in the side.

"But Robi is no different from any other player in the squad in that he will be fighting for a place when he regains his fitness. Anybody who watches top-level football knows that is always the case now, and we are no different.

"Things can change so quickly though - a week is a long time in this game. An injury or two and you're back in the side, and then it's up to you to make sure that you stay there. People might be asking how Robi is going to get back in given Craig's form, but things do change."

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