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Mancini unable to risk new signing

ROBERTO Mancini will have to wait to see if his punt on Patrick Vieira will pay instant dividends for Manchester City. After four injury-spattered years in Milan, the Frenchman begins his career at Eastlands with a calf injury.

Manchester City's medics have told him that it would be too dangerous to risk Vieira's damaged calf against Blackburn tonight.

Mancini will also be without Stephen Ireland, who has a hamstring strain, but it is the absence of his latest signing that is causing the biggest stir.

Ex-Arsenal legends are lining up to express significant scepticism about Vieira's capacity to cope with the rough and tumble of the Premier League, with Lee Dixon's contribution to the debate a representative sample.

"Patrick gets a few little niggles and hasn't got a classically fit footballer's body, where you know he's an athlete who can go on and on," he said.

"He might look like he has that body, but he hasn't.

"He always needed a long time to recover after games, longer than some of the older lads."