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Mancini: Ready for Stoke

Mancini: Ready for Stoke

Manchester City manger Roberto Mancini is expected to again rotate his strikers for the visit of Stoke on New Year's Day.

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The Italian's rotation policy saw Edin Dzeko return to the starting line-up in the 4-3 win over Norwich on Saturday.

Despite scoring a brace, the Bosnian hitman is not guaranteed a start against the Potters, and Mancini might opt for his more regular combination of Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.

Following their win over the Canaries, City remain in second place, seven points behind rivals Manchester United.

Mancini will be without attacking midfielder Samir Nasri as he begins a three-match ban for his straight red card at Carrow Road.

Mario Balotelli is expected to return to the squad after recovering from an illness, but could start on the bench.

Micah Richards is still out with a knee injury and is only expected back in February.

Meanwhile, Stoke, who were lucky to get a point against Southampton through a 90th-minute Cameron Jerome equaliser, will be without Rory Delap (hernia) and Marc Wilson (broken leg).

Midfielder Steven Nzonzi is able to face City after a successful appeal against his sending-off against the Saints on Saturday. Right-back Ryan Shotton is, however, unavailable, as he serves a suspension for picking up five yellow cards.

Tony Pulis' side have drawn four of their last five matches and have the tightest defence in the league, having conceded just 17 goals in 20 matches. They currently sit in eighth place on 29 points.

Posted: 31/12/12 12:15

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