It’s too early in the season to realistically view this game as a “relegation-six-pointer” but it sure feels like one.
Only Swansea and perennial Premier League strugglers Sunderland have had a worse start to the season than City, and it’s the Black Cats who are now rooted to the bottom of the table.
Yet both City and Sunderland won their last league fixture, with David Moyes getting his first win of the season away at Bournemouth, and the Tigers beating Southampton prior to the international break.
City have had a number of players on international duty with Markus Henriksen and Adama Diomande both involved in Norway’s 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic, and Robert Snodgrass failing to score in Scotland’s 3-0 defeat to England on Friday.
David Meyler and Sunderland’s John O’Shea both started on the bench for Ireland on Saturday night. Meyler came on to help secure a win over Austria, but O’Shea didn’t feature.
Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong also didn’t get any game time at the weekend after he bizarrely failed to turn up to play for Gabon, despite being in the country.
City have no new injury concerns ahead of the trip to Wearside, although It has been announced that the knee injury Will Keane picked up against Southampton will keep him out for a full year. This, coupled with the injury to Hernandez (abductor muscle tear), and the suspension being served by Diomande means that Mbokani is essentially the only available Striker.
The bookies have the home side as favourites priced at 6/5. City are as long as 5/2 to get all three points.
Mark Sellers (@mrmarksellers)