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Mancini keeps an anxious eye on Europe



Roberto Mancini will be keeping his fingers crossed that his legion of international stars check into Carrington injury-free after tonight's European Championship qualifiers.

Crucial Premier League points are at stake for second-placed City at Blackpool on Sunday, and manager Mancini knows it will be no stroll on the beach against a side that won deservedly at Liverpool last time out.    

Blues have five players on duty for England against Montenegro at Wembley - Gareth Barry, Joe Hart, Adam Johnson, Joleon Lescott and Shaun Wright-Phillips - and all are expected to be involved in Fabio Capello's plans.

They are scheduled to report back tomorrow morning, as are Shay Given and Greg Cunningham, who are both on duty for the Republic of Ireland in Zilina against Vladimir Weiss's Slovakia in a Group B tie.

Vincent Kompany steps back into Belgium's defence against Group A rivals Austria after being suspended against Kazakhstan, with young team-mate Dedryck Boyata hoping for a taste of action following promotion from the Under-21s.

David Silva, Spain's goalscoring hero in the weekend win over Lithuania at Salamanca, won't face too long a journey to get back to Manchester from tonight's Group I game against Scotland in Glasgow.

Jerome Boateng misses the chance to add to his German caps in Kazakhstan, having been ruled out by flu, while Nigel de Jong was left out of Holland's squad for their Group E game with Sweden in Amsterdam.

City's weary straggler in the Coming Home Stakes was due to be Roque Santa Cruz. But the Paraguay striker, set to face New Zealand in Wellington, did a U-turn at Hong Kong when his wife was taken ill. She's fine now - and Rocky trained with City today.

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