City boss will wait on Silva
Derby will give Gareth Roberts and Craig Bryson as much time as
possible to prove their fitness for Saturday’s Championship clash
with Leeds at Pride Park.
Left-back Roberts (calf) and midfielder Bryson (knee) both
missed the 4-1 defeat at Leicester last weekend with injuries
sustained during the 1-1 home draw with Cardiff.
They remains doubts for Saturday’s match but manager Nigel
Clough is hopeful that at least one of them will win the race to be
“They’re coming on slowly and they’re 50/50 at the moment with
regards to being available to face Leeds,” said Clough. “We’ll take
them right to the wire, Saturday morning if necessary, to see if we
can get one of them back at least.
“However, if either of them was to be involved it would have to
be without risking their fitness. As much as we want them back and
out on the pitch, we can’t risk them because if they have a setback
they could end up missing our entire Christmas programme which
would entail something like six matches.
“It’s something we’re aware of and will take into consideration,
Jamie Ward has missed the last dozen games with a troublesome
hamstring injury and the diminutive forward will miss out again
Derby have an impressive recent record against Leeds. The Rams
are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions against the
Yorkshire side, winning the last seven on the bounce.
Leeds striker El-Hadji Diouf missed last week’s derby win at
Huddersfield due to a slight groin strain, but returned to training
this week and is likely to feature.
Ross McCormack made his first start since returning from a
long-term ankle injury to partner Luciano Becchio at Huddersfield
and manager Neil Warnock may be tempted to stick with a winning
Another forward, Luke Varney, will return from his three-match
ban following his dismissal at Millwall, while centre-half Jason
Pearce and midfielder Michael Brown have both had to patient
following their respective suspensions by making do with a place on
the substitutes’ bench.
Warnock has no new injury or suspension problems and must decide
whether to retain Jerome Thomas, on loan from West Brom, or hand a
start to fellow winger Ryan Hall, who made an impact when
introduced off the bench last week.
Leeds are chasing a fourth straight league win in their bid to
close the gap between themselves and the top six.
Although Mancini has ruled Aleksandar Kolarov out of the Etihad
Stadium encounter, Silva, who missed the Champions League defeat to
Borussia Dortmund in midweek with a hamstring injury, remains in
“We will try with David,” said Mancini.
Gael Clichy and James Milner are both battling to recover from
ankle and hamstring problems respectively, although Mancini is wary
of pushing both men into action too quickly.
“It is a big risk because afterwards we have a lot of games
between now and the end of December and we need all the players to
With United boasting a three-point advantage but City having a
better goal difference the two sides are in exactly the same
position as they were ahead of the corresponding fixture last
On that occasion, City famously won through Vincent Kompany’s
header to seize control of the title race with just two games
There is far more football to play this time around but Mancini
acknowledges the importance of the occasion.
“They can lose because they have three points more,” said the
City chief. “We have three points less and we can’t lose.”
Yet, despite his side’s status as champions and the fact they
completed a Premier League double over United last term, including
that amazing 6-1 win at Old Trafford, Mancini insists the Red
Devils are the favourites.
“They are better than us at this moment,” said Mancini.
“We have only been here for two years. They are used to playing
these games in the title race for 20 years. They have won
everything for 15 years.
“You can’t change this in two or three years. You need more
“For this reason they have a small advantage.”