English FA Cup
January 5, 2013
NO CUP REST FOR MANCINI'S MEN
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini claims he cannot afford to rest any players for the visit of Gianfranco Zola's Watford in the FA Cup.
The Barclays Premier League champions are without a host of players for the third-round tie against the npower Championship side at the Etihad Stadium.
Last season's top scorer Sergio Aguero is out with a hamstring injury while midfield driving force Yaya Toure is now heading for the African Nations Cup with brother Kolo and back-up striker Abdul Razak.
Forward Samir Nasri is suspended while defenders Aleksandar Kolarov, Maicon and Micah Richards, and midfielder Jack Rodwell, are on the injury list.
There has been speculation over whether Mancini might allow some players to leave this month to allow for potential new arrivals but he insists he cannot let anyone go yet.
He said: "To leave - not one player (can) because, for example, we have 16 (players).
"We have to put two young players on the bench. We need time to decide this. We have one month to decide this.
"The FA Cup is totally different from the Premier League. Probably for Watford it is the most important game in the year and we won't change a lot of players - we don't have the players.''
The tie brings Mancini up against his fellow Italian and former rival Zola.
The pair, both renowned forwards, were regular opponents in Serie A and competitors for a spot in the national side.
Zola enjoyed the more internationally celebrated playing career but Mancini has had the greater success in management in stints at first Inter Milan and now City.
Zola is now trying to establish himself with the Hornets after his previous two-year spell in charge at West Ham ended with his sacking in 2010.
Mancini said: "I respected him as a player when he played and now as a manager. I think he did a good job when he was at West Ham and now with Watford.
"He was a fantastic player, his quality was of top level.
"He did very well in Italy, and very well in England with Chelsea.
"As a manager you need time but he still did very well with West Ham and I think he has a good chance to bring Watford into the first division because he knows football very well.''
Fitz Hall will miss out for Watford while Manuel Almunia and Almen Abdi are both doubts.
Defender Hall sat out of the 4-3 defeat to Charlton on New Year's Day with a hamstring strain and will not have recovered in time for the Etihad Stadium encounter.
Goalkeeper Almunia picked up a slight hamstring strain of his own against the Addicks but managed to complete the match and will be monitored.
As will midfielder Abi, who also faces a race against time having been forced off just after the hour mark on Tuesday with a pelvic problem.
There is positive news for the Hornets in the shape of defender Lloyd Doyley, who is fit again against a calf injury.