Saturday 1 August, 3.00pm
Barnsley v City
Our first pre season fixture on English soil will sadly not be seeing the debuts of Carlos Tevez or Roque Santa Cruz as they continue to be nursed back to fitness. Micah Richards has recovered from swine flu and is said to be raring to go. It remains to be seen whether Kolo Toure will be joining him at the back.
Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see our latest capture from Arsenal make an appearance as he was fit enough to player for the Gunners at the start of the week. Like the rest of us, Hughes is looking for an improvement on the South African games as the players improve their fitness:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We hope to raise the intensity a little at Barnsley but we still have different players at different fitness levels so we have to be mindful of that.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What we have nowÃ‚Â are three good games in a week Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Rangers and Celtic follow Barnsley- and what we intend to do is spread the workload so that everyone will get up to speed.
There’s little point in speculating on the line-up for this fixture as the players will clearly be rotated to give everyone a run out. However I will be hoping to get a first live glimpse of Adebayor and Barry wearing City shirts. We know results aren’t important in these fixtures but it would still be reassuring to see a victory with a few goals, particularly after the Vodacom Challenge.
There will be cash turnstiles at Oakwell for anyone without a ticket.
Official Barnsley site: http://www.barnsleyfc.co.uk/
Barnsley Football Club
The club have announced an “Open House” event next Thursday which will feature an opportunity to see our new signings going through their paces.Ã‚Â It all sounds a bit cheesy for anyone over the age of eight, but there could be some interest in seeing whether Carlos Tevez’s heel and Roque Santa Cruz’s knees can manage a knockabout.Ã‚Â We wait with baited breath.
Highlights are set to include:
- The squad being split into teams for some games.
- Roving entertainers, face painting, balloon modellers and a T-shirt launcher.
- The squad wearing their “dazzling freshly designed Umbro training kit”.
- The presence of Moonbeam and Moonchester.
- The chance to become the team’s mascot for the Celtic match (if you purchase the new training kit with a club membership card and are under 15).
Gates open at 2pm for a 2.45pm start with supporters encouraged to take along flags and scarves, etc.Ã‚Â The compare will be Hugh Ferris from Key 103 and I hope to God he isn’t the same person who was so excruciating at the recent friendly against Orlando Pirates.
Without aping the Real Madrid “galactico” introductions to much, it seems to fit with Garry Cooks desire for the club to stay connected with the local community while we also seek to build ourselves on the wider stage.
Not surprisingly, Elano has cited a need for regular first team action in the run up to the South African World Cup as the reason for his move to Galatasaray.
“I spoke with my national coach Dunga and he told me it will be difficult to enter me on his World Cup list if I am not playing football regularly.
“I need time on the field. This season is very important. I dream of playing in the World Cup.
“I have received a few other offers, but this is the best one for me and City.
“I never had any problems with the coach, but Hughes may not have had total confidence in me.”
The last line sounds particularly diplomatic. There’s a lot I’ll miss about Elano, and not just the perfect penalty record. I still believe he was the most incisive passer within the team, better even than Ireland on his day.Ã‚Â Of course his good days were far to rare, but there was always the nagging feeling that a better man-manager than Hughes (I’m thinking a Hiddink or even a Redknapp) would have got an awful lot more out of him. He undoubtedly had the ability to be a City legend.
A report in today’s MEN and a footnote in The Times both claim City have lined up either Chelsea’s Alex or Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong as an alternative to Joleon Lescott.
The Times understands that SÃƒÂ©bastien Bassong, the Newcastle United defender, or Alex, the Chelsea centre back, are being lined up as alternative targets.
The Blues are preparing bids for Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong and Chelsea’s Alex after Everton firmly rejected an improved Ã‚Â£18m bid for England defender Lescott.
It makes sense for City to start weighing up alternatives given the flat refusal of David Moyes and Everton to entertain bids for Lescott. It also fits with City’s apparent transfer policy of judging each deal on it’s individual merits and being prepared to walk away if the sums go above what Hughes, Cook and Khaldoon Al Mubarak think it is worth.
Both these players are 6′ 2″ which would seem to be a pre-requisite for the centre of our defence given that none of Toure, Onuoha or Richards are over six feet tall.Ã‚Â Dunne is 6′ 2″, but appears far from guaranteed a first team place nextÃ‚Â season.
Being a left footed centre half who could provide cover at left back were qualities that Hughes was keen on with Lescott. It’s interesting to note that Bassong is also able to provide this, as he states on his Facebook page.