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Sky: City battle United and Spurs for midfielder

MEDIA WATCH: The Blues are reportedly targeting Tanguy Ndombele.

MEDIA WATCH: The Blues are reportedly targeting Tanguy Ndombele.

The FA Cup returns this weekend as Manchester City face a fifth-round trip to Newport County.

The press are already looking ahead to that game – and there’s also more transfer gossip to wade through.

After claims in the Sun on Wednesday that City are preparing a bid for Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele, Sky Sports have today joined the party, claiming the midfielder is on our radar, as well as Tottenham and Manchester United’s.

Sky have assessed his qualities and believe he is a player capable of challenging Fernandinho for a place in the City side.

Ndombele is a box-to-box midfielder who is powerful, forward-thinking and athletic,” they write.

Ndombele was called up to the France squad for the first time in October, replacing Tolisso in the squad - the same player who he replaced at Lyon.

“He came on as a substitute in matches against Iceland and Germany but earned his first start later in the year against Uruguay.

France head coach Didier Deschamps said: "He knows how to do everything in the middle, he is powerful, technical."

Michael Pearlman of BBC Wales says City could be in for a difficult afternoon when we visit Newport on Sunday.

He has offered an insight into the pitch and facilities at Rodney Parade and says the City players may never have experienced anything quite like it. 

Pep Guardiola's men have won the Premier League, are one of the favourites for the Champions League and are managed by perhaps football's most successful current boss,” he writes.

“They stand at the pinnacle of world football at a time in which global funds and a worldwide audience have ensured more focus than ever on the beautiful game.

“However, of all the differences between the Premier League champions and a mid-table League Two side like Newport County, perhaps none is starker than that of the stadiums in which they play.

“Because it is fair to say that despite all they have achieved in the Premier League in the past few seasons, Manchester City have never experienced anything like Rodney Parade, a ground with a rich history and unique place in British sporting history.

“With its stands and makeshift terraces only yards away from a pitch that has become notorious, Rodney Parade is in every sense an old rugby venue adapted for football. The conditions can be wild, the fans definitely will be and as Tottenham and Leicester have found, it is not a comfortable place for Premier League footballers.

“Welcome to Rodney Parade.”

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And, finally, the BBC’s Mark Lawrenson has posted his usual pre-match predictions - and he foresees a 2-0 win for City.

You would think he will know what to expect - the Welsh side will be looking to get the ball in the box as much and as quickly as possible, and the pitch at Rodney Parade is not great either," he writes.

“City have got to deal with it, and the fact there are no replays from this round onwards adds an extra edge to this tie, because it will be settled on the night - they cannot take the tie back to the Etihad Stadium like Tottenham did when they drew in the fourth round last season and won at Wembley.

“I still think City will get the job done though. I cannot see him taking Newport too lightly.

“Lawro's prediction: 0-2”

That’s all for this morning’s roundup of the back pages – but stay with us throughout the day as we bring you full coverage of Pep Guardiola’s pre-match press conference.

And don’t forget, you can follow Saturday’s game with live updates via our Matchday Centre right here on mancity.com.

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