Micah Richards is set to switch back to the heart of City’s defence at Middlesbrough as the Blues seek to build on their knockout success of this season.
The England international will answer Roberto Mancini’s call to shift positions after the Italian lost Joleon Lescott and Nedum Onuoha to injury and Kolo Toure to the African Cup of Nations.
Richards is likely to partner Belgian ace Vincent Kompany in a new look central pairing.
Richards, recalled to the side at Wolves on Monday night, is familiar with many of the Boro players thanks to his outings with the England under 21squad and a former fierce rivalry at Academy level between the Blues and the Teessiders.
And he is determined that the FA Cup should not be overshadowed by the looming Carling Cup semi final with United.
“We want to win every match and the Boro game is no different,” he declared. “We don’t want to be fall guys and help kick start the second half of Boro’s season.
Last season we went out of the FA Cup in terrible fashion at home to Forest when we were beaten 3-0. That was a real low point of the campaign
“Having tasted the excitement of reaching the final stages of the Carling Cup we want more of it in the FA Cup. We are not bothered about fixture congestion or anything like that because the longer you stay in competitions and the more games you have then the more successful you are being.
“We know that Boro have not been having the best of runs in the league but I know they have good players, talented players, and we know too that they will feel they have nothing to lose.
“One of this club’s worst experiences in football in recent years – probably ever - was at Boro when we lost 8-1 and it would be nice for the fans to come away from the Riverside feeling happy!”
Richards is sanguine about having to move across from the flank to reprise a role he has played many times before.
“I like the freedom of playing full back but I am equally happy at centre half,” he concluded. “I feel as if I am coming into the game in a decent patch of form and hopefully that will continue.”