Ireland: I'll be fine for derby

Ireland: I'll be fine for derby

Stephen Ireland expects to be fit for Sunday’s Manchester derby.

The City midfielder was forced to miss the second half of the weekend win over Arsenal after aggravating an ankle injury he originally suffered at Portsmouth last month.

Blues boss Mark Hughes was concerned the 23-year-old would miss out, particularly as Robinho is already sidelined, Carlos Tevez is a major doubt and disciplinary trouble continues to hang over £25m frontman Emmanuel Adebayor.

But Ireland has been quick to play down fears over his fitness, insisting he will be ready for the Old Trafford encounter.

“I can’t wait for the match and I am confident that I will be fine,” Ireland told www.mcfc.co.uk.

“The injury was painful on Saturday but the three points soon made that fade.”

Always a keenly-contested affair, this weekend’s derby clash promises to be the most intriguing for years.

If the early evidence is anything to go by, City have made good use of the huge amounts of money that have been invested by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

Hughes’ side have won all their four Barclays Premier League matches so far and still level with United, who have played a game more but suffered that shock defeat at Burnley.

If that was not enough to stoke the fires, Tevez’s controversial summer move from United to City provides added spice, with Hughes vowing to give the Argentina star as much time as possible to recover from a knee injury he picked up on international duty.

“There will be an extra edge to this game, there is no doubt about that,” said Ireland.

“Carlos Tevez coming here and some of the things that have been said this summer may even sharpen that edge.

“There is bound to be plenty of banter before the match and in the stands at Old Trafford though I would like to think that there will be a definite line that will not be crossed.

“Derby games are great; the nerves beforehand, the build-up, the fans.”

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