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Mancini up for the cup

Roberto Mancini insists he will not dismiss the FA Cup as a second-rate competition like Arsene Wenger.

Although the Arsenal boss was upset when his side went out to Stoke in the last round, he made the point that finishing in the top four was far harder and remained more of a priority for the north London outfit.

The same could also be said of Stoke's fifth-round opponents Manchester City, given the amount of money that has been spent amassing their present squad.

However, while Mancini can partially understand Wenger's reasoning, even at a club that is facing five years without a trophy, at City, silverware would be welcomed just as much as Premier League success.

"We have two targets this season -- the FA Cup and the top four," said Mancini.

"Arsenal have a lot of games because they are also in the Champions League.

"Maybe the FA Cup is more important to me than it is for Arsene Wenger."

Despite Mancini's statement, changes are inevitable given City must tackle the same opposition in Premier League combat at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday.

Dedryck Boyata, Stephen Ireland, Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha could all be involved, while £22m defender Joleon Lescott is in line to make his first start for two months after a knee injury, now that Vincent Kompany has been ruled out.



IMPRESSION

There is also the possibility of starting spots for Martin Petrov and Shaun Wright-Phillips as £8m new-boy Adam Johnson is cup-tied, having played on the losing side for Middlesbrough against City earlier in the competition.

Johnson has certainly made a pretty big impression, even though his time on the pitch since his move across England only amounts to a game and a half.

The 22-year-old picked up deserved man-of-the-match honours for his performance against Bolton on Tuesday and Mancini paid the Sunderland-born winger the highest compliment when he compared him to a legendary figure from across the city.

"Johnson is a great player," he said.

"If he continues like he is at the moment he could get into the national team. I remember Ryan Giggs when he was young and the way he moved. Johnson is the same player.

"If he keeps working hard he has a good chance for the future."

Stoke defender Robert Huth believes their FA Cup run shows they are not just a side intent on scrapping their way to survival in the Premier League.

And although Stoke have a reputation for a pragmatic approach, which last year saw them secure a second successive season in the top flight, Huth said there was more to them than that.

But, however they are perceived, the German defender said they were just focused on trying to win every match.

"Every time you play you get judged as a player and a team," he said.

"I don't think we have been playing like we just want to stay in the Premier League -- yes, it is a goal but we've been playing a lot better (than just that).

"It gives you confidence beating a team like Arsenal, but if we don't win against City it's not worth noticing. Personally I don't care what people think. As long as we do all right and do a good job for the club, we don't care. It is the fifth round so there are a few rounds to go, but we're not going to hold back. But with the matches coming so quickly it is just another game."

MANCHESTER CITY v STOKE CITY

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