Tevez heads long absentee list for city's trip to stoke
Published 16/02/2010 | 05:00
Roberto Mancini is facing a severe shortage of players for Manchester City's Premier League trip to Stoke tonight.
Carlos Tevez has been granted leave to return to Argentina for family reasons, while Craig Bellamy (knee) and Vincent Kompany (groin) are set to be ruled out through injury.
In addition, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland and Martin Petrov are nursing knocks and could also miss out.
Adam Johnson, who was cup-tied for Saturday's 1-1 draw, is set to return, while injury-prone Roque Santa Cruz could be handed his first start since lasting just four minutes at Everton last month.
Patrick Vieira will come in at midfield as City bid to capitalise on one of the two games they have in hand over fourth-place Liverpool -- one point from either will see them move into a Champions League place.
New signing Vieira sees Stoke as similar to the Bolton side that posed his old Arsenal team such problems a few years ago.
"All credit to them," said the 33-year-old. "Stoke don't make it easy for any team. They battle for the full 90 minutes and it is really difficult to defend their set-pieces.
"There are no teams like that in Italy but I had a few tough moments against Bolton, so I knew what it was going to be like.
"The physical aspect of England is different but a lot of my game is based on the physical aspect. I enjoy it. In Italy it was different. That is why I am so pleased to come back."