Hughes: McClaren is right to go Dutch

MANCHESTER CITY manager Mark Hughes believes Steve McClaren deserves credit for re-launching his career abroad.

The former England boss is back on home soil with his FC Twente side with a date at Eastlands tonight in the UEFA Cup.

Hughes, who cut his teeth during his four-year spell with Wales, has a lot of admiration for his managerial counterpart.

He said: “Steve has always been one, you feel, who always had his career path mapped out. I think there was always going to be a time when he wanted to ply his trade in a different country.

“That is what he is doing now and he should be applauded for that.”

Hughes could have more attacking options against an FC Twente side that won their first game, against Racing Santander of Spain.

Benjani scored for the reserves this week following a long-standing thigh injury while Darius Vassell also had a run-out after being sidelined with a knee problem. Hughes is looking for Benjani to kick on and said: “It is frustrating he has not been able to make an impact for us but touch wood we hope he is back now.”

Skipper Richard Dunne is doubtful after suffering fluid on the knee following the defeat by Bolton.

Meanwhile, Tottenham youngster John Bostock is expected to be on the bench against Dinamo Zagreb as Harry Redknapp looks to prioritise the Premier League over European football.

“He’s on the bench and I’d love to get him on the pitch,” Redknapp said. “He’s only 16, a kid with terrific talent and a lovely left foot.”

Redknapp has stressed the importance of defeating Croatian league leaders Zagreb, but domestic points are crucial as he feels it could be the tightest Premier League relegation battle yet.

“I would love to get to a cup final again, but getting Tottenham up the league to a respectable position is key as well,” he said. “We’ve got a lot on our plate.

Redknapp will rest Ledley King while Jermaine Jenas is struggling with a toe injury, Jamie O’Hara is banned and Roman Pavlyuchenko and Vedran Corluka are cup-tied.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill insists tiredness will not be an issue when Villa face Slavia Prague in the Czech capital tonight.

However, he confirmed he would make changes to the side that lost to Newcastle on Monday as they look to build on their opening win over Ajax a fortnight ago.

O’Neill said: “I think that (tiredness) would be a pretty lame excuse to throw in at this stage. We’ve played the game on Monday night, that’s the way it fell.

“We were lucky in many aspects to get a week to prepare ourselves — you wouldn’t have told that by our second-half performance — but this is what we’re here for.

“It shouldn’t be a problem. That doesn’t mean I won’t change the side around, I will make some changes because some of the players who have been crying out for games, wanting to prove themselves, will get a run-out tomorrow night.”

O’Neill will definitely make two changes with James Milner struggling with injury and Marlon Harewood having stayed at home to be at the birth of his child last night. Stiliyan Petrov is also still missing with a hamstring injury.

“Stiliyan missed Monday’s tie and he was missed by us, and James has had an injury,” said O’Neill.

“I know James would really wanted to have played but there’s a risk if he played tomorrow he misses Sunday (against Middlesbrough).

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