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Etihad Stadium (ATT 43,967) 2nd May 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Dean

Man City Manchester City vs Blackburn Rovers Blackburn

Man City v Blackburn preview

City aim to maintain Euro push while Rovers edge towards safety

By Ben Collins.   Last Updated: 01/05/09 12:08pm

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Robinho: Back in the goals

Robinho: Back in the goals

Manchester City will aim to boost their European push by claiming a third straight win at home to lowly Blackburn on Saturday.

Skysports.com prediction: Man City 3 Blackburn 1 Sky Bet odds: Man City 10/11 Draw 9/4 Blackburn 10/3 One to Watch: Robinho Bet on Saturday's match

After getting knocked out of the Uefa Cup quarter-finals two weeks ago, the Blues knew only a strong Premier League finish would see them remain in Europe next season.

And the Blues have made the perfect response to that heart-breaking exit against Hamburg, winning 4-2 at home to West Brom before clinching a 2-1 win at Everton last week.

That was only City's second away win in the league this season - and their first in eight months - and they are now just three points off seventh-placed Fulham with four games remaining.

High spirits

However, City have failed to win in their last 11 meetings with Blackburn and Rovers make the short trip across Lancashire in high spirits having claimed a crucial 2-0 win at home to Wigan last week.

That moved Sam Allardyce's men a step closer to Premier League survival as it opened up a six-point gap between themselves and the bottom three.

Middlesbrough and Newcastle are unlikely to cut the deficit this weekend as they face title rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, respectively, which is sure to provide some relief to Blackburn given City's superb home record.

The Blues have turned Eastlands into a fortress this season, with only United having won more home games in the Premier League, and they will have a rejuvenated Robinho on the prowl.

The Brazilian star is back on the goal trail after scoring in the last two games to halt a 17-match drought, while international team-mate Elano has also returned to form in the absence of winger Shaun Wright-Phillips through injury.

Team news

Wright-Phillips (ankle) is set to remain out while Daniel Sturridge (hip) and Pablo Zabaleta (hamstring) are also sidelined.

Former Blackburn boss Mark Hughes is expected to name an unchanged line-up if defender Micah Richards can recover from the knee injury that forced him off against Everton.

Blackburn will be without midfielder David Dunn for the rest of the season after Allardyce confirmed he has had surgery on an Achilles problem.

Long-term City target Roque Santa Cruz (knee) and fellow frontman Jason Roberts (fractured metatarsal) remain out so Christopher Samba could continue as a make-shift striker.

Possible starting XIs

Man City: Given, Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge, De Jong, Kompany, Elano, Ireland, Robinho, Caicedo.

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Nelsen, Givet, Warnock, Diouf, Grella, Tugay, Pedersen, Samba, McCarthy.

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 34 77
2 Chelsea 34 75
3 Manchester City 32 70
4 Arsenal 34 67
5 Everton 33 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 34 60
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 34 48
9 Newcastle United 34 46
10 Stoke City 34 43
11 West Ham United 34 37
12 Crystal Palace 33 37
13 Hull City 33 36
14 Aston Villa 33 34
15 Swansea City 34 33
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 34 32
18 Fulham 34 30
19 Cardiff City 34 29
20 Sunderland 32 25

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