Milner's mind fixed on Toon

Simon Stone

JAMES Milner intends to keep ignoring the critics who are attempting to undermine Manchester City's charge for glory.

After helping England overcome Sweden at Wembley on Tuesday night, it is back to club business for Milner this weekend and a meeting with Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.

Yet the attraction of a clash between the top flight's last unbeaten teams has been diluted somewhat by the continuing saga involving Carlos Tevez, who is still to indicate when he is likely to return to Manchester after heading back to Argentina without permission last week.

The issue is becoming tiresome for Milner (pictured), who just wants to concentrate on helping City consolidate their position at the Premier League summit.

"As a team, we just keep moving forward," he said.

"There always seems to be things going on off the field at Manchester City and people wanting to knock you down with distractions."

Milner spent four seasons with the Tyneside outfit earlier in his career, although he was on loan at Aston Villa for one of them.

And the 25-year-old understands acutely the passion Newcastle fans have for their club and how desperate they are for success.

Having maintained a 100pc record on home soil so far, City will approach the contest in confident mood.

However, it promises to be the start of a pivotal couple of weeks for the Manchester club.

After the Newcastle encounter comes a trip to Naples that will almost certainly determine whether City make it into the Champions League group phase.

After that they travel to Liverpool, before heading down to Arsenal for a Carling Cup quarter-final.