Pearce grateful for fans' support through poor run

April 28, 2006

Stuart Pearce has escaped the wrath of Manchester City's long-suffering fans over the club's recent six-match losing streak.

The Blues finally ended their barren run by beating Aston Villa on Tuesday and will move even closer to the halfway mark in the Premiership table if they can overcome fellow also-rans Fulham at Eastlands tomorrow.

Mid-table mediocrity is not what the City faithful anticipated from Pearce's first full season in charge but, despite admitting his side have fallen below expectations this term, the Blues boss has been spared a public lambasting because most supporters acknowledge the club is generally moving in the right direction.

He said: 'I have been to various supporters' club functions during the bad run we have been on and not one person has come up to me and suggested we are having a bad time or anything.

'All they have done is give me their support. The least they deserve in return is an uplifting run to the end of the season which can send them into the summer in a good mood, thinking we can bring in one or two new faces to improve what we already have.'

Reinforcing his squad may not prove easy for Pearce, whose slender transfer budget could be weakened even further if his side cannot force their way further up the league during a final week which pits them into battle with Champions League finalists Arsenal and UEFA Cup contenders Blackburn.

'The club has budgeted to finish in a certain position and at the moment, we are under it,' admitted Pearce.

'We need to finish a touch higher just to be on track.'

Pearce spent two hours with City chief executive Alistair Mackintosh last Friday, examining how the club's cash flow affects his bargaining power in the transfer market.

Although it was more a factfinding mission than anything else for the inquisitive Pearce, it only confirmed his suspicions about the lack of finance available to him this summer.

The situation is bound to heighten fears of the futures of star duo Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin, although Pearce insists he still expects the pair to stay.

'I want the likes of Joey and Sylvain to stay work with me at this club,' said Pearce.

'It is a fantastic club to work for and we pay good wages, not peanuts. I expect them to stay and I think they will.'