Carling Cup preview: Manchester City v Scunthorpe United
City will be without the injured Kolo Toure and Martin Petrov as Mark Hughes looks to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup. A Scunthorpe side who are holding their own in the Championship this season will come to Eastlands with plenty of backing from over 3,000 travelling fans.
Wayne Bridge is also an injury doubt for City with “a little bit of irritation behind the knee”. It remains to be seen whether Hughes chooses to leave out anyone else from Saturday’s starting line-up. The manager has stated previously that he’s reluctant to play Craig Bellamy three times in a week, and Emmanuel Adabayor may miss out as he seeks to fully recover from an ankle knock.
Despite these concerns, Hughes maintains he will seek to send out as strong a line-up as possible in a competition he would be delighted to win – a view wholly shared over here.
“I will still field a strong side – there will not be a raft of changes. We want to progress in the competition and it is important we do so.
“We have given the competition the respect it deserves in previous rounds and will do so again. It is a game we want to win, so that will determine our attitude, I would suggest.”
The absence of Toure may mean a welcome return to the starting line-up for Vincent Kompany, while Sylvinho could finally make his debut if Bridge misses out. Without Petrov, the role of natural winger is likely be reclaimed by Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Steven Ireland will be keen to get back into the starting line-up, though the most likely vacancy could be the left flank, which is his least effective midfield position. Alternatively, de Jong could miss out if City go for a more attacking midfield.
It will be interesting to see if Hughes plums for Zabaleta or Richards at right-back. Roque Santa Cruz is set to return to the squad, though a fit Adebayor would most likely see the Parguayan starting on the bench. Vladimir Weiss and Michael Johnson could also get a look-in as substitutes.
Scunthorpe have sold over 3,000 tickets from a 6,000 allocation for what is a glamour tie for them. Following promotion via the play-offs last season, the Iron have settled well into life in the Championship. They may have lost 3-0 to Peterborough last Saturday, but prior to that they beat Newcastle 2-1 and Sheffield United 3-1.
When the draw was made, I went through our previous meetings with Scunthorpe. Check it out here. City have only played Scunthorpe 4 times competitively but have won them all scoring 21 times.
Their fans should bring a good atmosphere and the team will be confident enough to fancy an upset. For our supporters, there’s a ‘kids for a quid’ offer and it’s to be hoped this encourages a decent turnout.
A run of three successive draws has taken some of the shine off our new look side, and a convincing victory with a few goals could help lift everyone. Being in a quarter-final draw so early in the season, would certainly be a nice feeling.
Possible line-up: Given, Zabaleta, Sylvinho, Kompany, Lescott, de Jong, Barry, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Tevez, Adebayor.