Mpenza in with a chance of permanent deal

April 4, 2007

Emile Mpenza has given himself every chance of securing a long-term deal at Manchester City in the remaining weeks of the season.

The Belgium striker, 28, has given the club a much-needed cutting edge following a spell in Qatar with Al Rayyan.

Mpenza scored the winner at Newcastle after finding the target in the defeat of Middlesbrough.

He is now looking to improve his goals ratio when City entertain Charlton on Friday.

Manager Stuart Pearce has been pleased with the way the player has adapted after being given a deal until the end of the season.

The international forward has a huge incentive to do well in the coming weeks as the City boss explained.

'If we feel as though he has done well enough for us, I will have a chat with him and his representatives,' said Pearce. 'Emile is still of an age where his best years might be in front of him.

'We have given him a great opportunity to show what he can do in what is the best league in the world. He has fitted in quite well and got us a couple of goals.

'Emile has a good scoring record for the clubs he has played for and his country.'

City have struggled to score this season and Pearce believes it is a 'bonus' to have someone like the Belgian on board.

He said: 'It is not often you get a player of his age and his experience going out to Qatar to play.

'He gives us another option and is coming out of himself a bit more. He is now calling for the ball on the training pitch.

'Emile does not speak English but is taking lessons, so he is trying his utmost to fit in with the players.'

Full-back Michael Ball is also on course for a new deal following his arrival from PSV Eindhoven.

Pearce said: 'Michael was struggling to get a taker for quite a while. We are pleased the way he has settled in and like Emile he is doing the right things.'

Pearce again looks likely to be without England defender Micah Richards against Charlton as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Midfielder Dietmar Hamann is doubtful after suffering a similar problem in the victory at Newcastle.