City boss Hughes still looking for new faces

August 25, 2008

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes is determined to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Hughes insists there is still money to be spent in the transfer market despite continued speculation the club are hampered by financial constraints.

He has already drafted in three players - Jo, Tal Ben-Haim and Vincent Kompany - for what is understood to be a total of about £30million.

Belgium international Kompany, 22, made an impressive debut in the 3-0 defeat of West Ham yesterday and Hughes wants to attract more bright young players to the club.

He said: 'I have been trying to talk about the positives but some people are more concerned about the negative aspects, if there are any.

'The means to get more players in is there. That has been established. We have a number of situations that could be resolved in the next few days.

'We want to bring in good players to complement those already here. That is what we are trying to do in the remaining part of the window.'

City now go into the UEFA Cup match against FC Midtjylland on Thursday, when they are aiming to peg back a 1-0 deficit, with renewed confidence after defeating West Ham.

Striker Daniel Sturridge looks set to start after making the breakthrough before Elano added a brace.

Hughes is predicting a bright future for a player who helped the club win the FA Youth Cup last season.

'When you are a young striker with great talent you will always be judged by goals, ' said the City boss.

'I congratulated him on playing well in the first 45 minutes but I said he needed to make his mark in the game.

'Thankfully that is what he did. I thought it was a great strike and he was a handful all afternoon for the opposition.

'He was up against players with a lot more experience than him but still had an impact on the game.

'All strikers want to score their first goal and he has been able to do that. We are delighted for him.'

City's success on the pitch was followed by a renewed pledge from Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra that he remains committed to the club and has no intention of selling up.

Thaksin's decision to seek refuge in England after refusing to return to Thailand where he faces corruption charges has led to speculation about the extent of his financial muscle.

However, executive chairman Garry Cook claims the former Thailand prime minister is not looking for a buyer for City.

He told BBC Radio Manchester: 'When these things get thrown at you, you actually try that much harder.

'He (Thaksin) is even more adamant now, because this is his love, and he wants to show people he is really committed.

'I asked the question as well as everyone else - 'is the club for sale?' and he is quite adamant this club is not for sale and he is here for the long haul.

'I asked 'why did you buy it?'. He said he bought it because there is a 10-year plan.'

One negative outcome of the Hammers clash is that City look certain to be without Micah Richards for the European tie as he will be monitored by doctors in the next few days after suffering concussion in a aerial collision with team-mate Ben-Haim.

Kelvin Etuhu is also doubtful for this second leg match in Herning as he is struggling with a pulled hamstring.

Meanwhile West Ham manager Alan Curbishley saw his lengthy injury list extended when Carlton Cole twisted his back against City.

He has been ruled out of the Carling Cup game against Macclesfield on Wednesday but might return to face Blackburn at the weekend.

However George McCartney could face the League Two strugglers after being sidelined with a virus.

Despite being down on numbers Curbishley insists he wants his side to do well in the knock-out tournaments.

He said: 'We attacked the cup competitions last year and will do that again with the players we have left.

'We have a home game against Macclesfield, so we have got to get a good result then think about Blackburn.

'I know I have a squad that when they are all available we can compete with the best.

'We have got to get some senior players back, the kind who can change games when needed.'