No extra keeper for City

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has ruled out bringing in another goalkeeper to act as back-up to Joe Hart.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has ruled out bringing in another goalkeeper to act as back-up to Joe Hart.

Mancini’s options have been limited due to the shoulder injury sustained by Shay Given that will rule the Irishman out for almost all the remainder of the season.

It means City only have Stuart Taylor as back-up and he has not played a first-team game for 13 months, an FA Cup tie at Scunthorpe.

For City, the spectre of last season’s nightmare, when they ended up bringing in Marton Fulop on an emergency loan after failing to recall Hart from a loan spell at Birmingham when Given got injured during the latter weeks of the campaign, is looming again.

But Mancini will resist a panic move, trusting to Hart’s fitness to fate.

“Last year we were unlucky,” he said.

“It is impossible that we will be unlucky like that again.

“Joe is young. I hope he will be strong and can play all the games until the end. I am not going to try and loan someone.”

It is just a measure of the fitness problems Mancini is trying to combat ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League encounter with Fulham at Eastlands.

City are already without half a dozen senior men and Vincent Kompany may join them after sustaining a hip injury against Aris Thessalonika in midweek.

It merely adds to Mancini’s total disbelief at a fixture pile-up that is threatening his side’s chances of success.

Should City draw their FA Cup fifth-round tie with Aston Villa on Wednesday, the replay has been scheduled for Monday, March 7, two days after the Blues tackle Wigan in the Premier League at Eastlands and only three before a punishing round trip to Kiev of 4,500km for the Europa League first-leg tie with Dynamo.

It is fixture congestion the likes of which Mancini has never encountered before. And the Italian does not believe it is fair.

“In my life I have never seen that a team arrives in February and March and has to play every two days,” he said.

“This is a big problem, not only for us but for all the teams.

“Something should change because this is impossible for all English players.

“At every World Cup and European Championships, there is a problem for England because all their players are tired.

“We should have more respect for them. They are not machines.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox