FA Cup preview: Scunthorpe United v Manchester City

City take on Scunthorpe in a cup competition for the second time this season and will be hoping for a repeat of the 5-1 victory at Eastlands. It promises to be a closer affair at Glanford Park with Roberto Mancini likely to rest several players prior to Wednesday’s trip to Old Trafford.

Mancini said he would play a strong team at Middlesbrough, before making numerous changes and giving Dedryck Boyata his debut. Boro were in a poor run of form, whereas Nigel Adkins will be sending Scunthorpe out to battle hard and use the small pitch to close City down.

It’s difficult to predict the City line-up with several players looking in need of a rest. At left-back, Sylvinho could start ahead of Garrido. Elsewhere in the defence, Kompany, Richards and Zabaleta are three of our physically stronger players who may be able to manage playing on Sunday and Wednesday.

Nedum Onuoha is recently returned from injury and would benefit from some match practice. Boyata could also play to give him additional experience.

In midfield, Ireland is set for a welcome return. If he does well, then a place as a third central midfielder on Wednesday could be his.

It remains to be seen who else plays in the middle. Barry and de Jong could both do with a rest, but Vieira isn’t yet fit and other signings have yet to materialise.

On the left, it would be a surprise to see Bellamy given the reluctance to play him twice in a week. Petrov is a more likely starter, while it will be interesting to see if there’s a role for Robinho given the speculation linking him with a return to Santos.

Shaun Wright-Phillips is likely to get some match practice on the right, especially now Weiss has gone on loan to Bolton.

Benjani is sure to lead the attack in the absense of Santa Cruz, Adebayor and the rested Tevez. It will be important for the likes of Petrov, Wright-Phillips, Ireland and Robinho to get forward and support him. They are all better goalscorers, while Benjani is ineffective if left isolated.

Roberto Mancini:

“We must remember what happened between Liverpool and Reading, and United and Leeds as well.

“It’s a small ground, they will be strong because they are at home but we will have to be at our best and do what we can.”

This could be a much trickier fixture than that at Middlesbrough, and Mancini will find the Scunthorpe crowd a lot more fired up than their counterparts on Tyneside. With our minds on Manchester United, and a much changed team likely, the potential for an upset is clear. The Italian may need his tactical nous to ensure we come through unscathed.

Blue Days line-up: Given, Sylvinho, Zabaleta, Onuoha, Boyata, de Jong, Ireland, Petrov, Wright-Phillips, Robinho, Benjani.

Prediction: 3-0 to City.

Carling Cup verdict: Manchester City 2 Manchester United 1
FA Cup verdict: Scunthorpe United 2 Manchester City 4

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