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Given dilemma

SHAY stepped in and Shay stepped out again! Giovanni Trapattoni's number one netminder delivered a string of world class saves for Roberto Mancini against West Brom in the Carling Cup in his first start of the season -- and possibly his last -- for Manchester City.

A 2-1 defeat effectively closed off his only remaining route to competitive club football and leaves him looking forward to the January transfer window with increasing desperation .

City boss Roberto Mancini could only watch and admire a sequence of superb saves from his expensive replacement goalkeeper: "He played very well. He is a good goalkeeper."

Given will now return to the bench for Manchester City's big clash with Chelsea at Eastlands on Sunday to make room for England's Joe Hart.

But there was a silver lining for Trapattoni in the form of an accomplished 90 minutes at left-full from Greg Cunningham, which could yet lead to his first Premier League start at the weekend.

Mancini didn't linger long on Given's performance and turned quickly to a growing defensive crisis he is facing in advance of a big showdown with Chelsea at Eastlands on Sunday.





PROBLEMS

Unless Micah Richards recovers from a hamstring injury that kept him out at The Hawthorns, Mancini will have only Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure available to face the only side left with a 100% record.

"We have big problems," he said. "I hope that Micah Richards can recover. If not I don't know who can play left-back."

Clearly, Cunningham is now a candidate for a start against the Premier League's form side and that would, in turn, strengthen his claims at international level.

Trapattoni may have his own defensive worries to cope with. Richard Dunne didn't recover from a knee knock in time to line out for Aston Villa in their Carling Cup 3-1 win over Blackburn.

However, Dunne has two more Premier League fixtures against Wolves and Spurs between now and the international break which should allow him enough time to return to full fitness.

Elsewhere in the Carling Cup, Keith Treacy scored for Preston but lasted just 54 minutes following a recurrence of a tendinitis problem in his groin.

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