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Half-term report

As we head towards the half-way point of the season, I thought it well-timed to take a look at how the squad have fared over the first part of the campaign, and what to expect over the second-half of the season.

Goalkeepers:

Nicky Weaver - Again endorsed by Stuart Pearce this week, and no-one can doubt it is good to see him back playing again after his terrible injury problems, but appears suspect in some key areas and does not for me have the presence to be a genuine number 1.

Andreas Isaksson - His City career 'enjoyed' an injury-plagued beginning but having returned to full fitness found himself stuck on the bench. Showed a glimpse of his potential in the second-half of the derby and will be looking to start seeing meaningful action sooner rather than later.

Joe Hart - A solitary appearance for the goalkeeper of the future, but appears to have all the necessary tools to be a success. He looks to be ahead of Kaspar Schmeichel in the pecking order and may be loaned out in the near future to gain some more experience.

Defence:

Micah Richards - An outstanding campaign and a shoe-in for best player over the season so far. Playing well beyond his years and experience, he earned a full England debut against Holland and if anything perhaps we will come to expect too much of him.

Richard Dunne - For the most part he excelled alongside Distin, flourishing with the responsibility of the captaincy, but a shaky past couple of games have seen flaws appear in his game.

Sylvain Distin - Plenty of speculation prior to the season over a potential departure, but he rebounded with a superb start to the season. For Dunne's recent problems, also read Distin as he too has been uncharacteristically poor. Could be heading into the last part of his City career.

Ben Thatcher - Was almost booted out of the club following the Pedro Mendes incident, but returned to the side (largely thanks to Jordan's struggles) where he has been solid, if unspectacular but has established himself again as first choice.

Stephen Jordan - Fell off the radar following Thatcher's return due to some awful displays which drew Stuart Pearce's wrath. Appeared to be first choice heading into the season, but now faces a genuine battle to re-establish himself in the team.

Nedum Onouha - Another who missed the opening of the season, but has returned to the side on occasion. May now get another opportunity if Richards' injury sidelines him for any length of time, and more than anything needs a long run of games.

Matthew Mills - Another to feature in the Wigan debacle, and looked a little ill at ease (as did most to be fair) but he comes highly rated but it is unlikely he will see too much first team action this season, unless we are struck by injuries.

Midfield:

Joey Barton - Perhaps vying Richards for outstanding performer over the first half of the season, and at times is carrying the whole midfield. Has shaken off last seasons problems to force himself into the England reckoning, but transfer speculation is again being to circulate around him.

Trevor Sinclair - Was enjoying a relatively solid start to the season and linked well with Richards before his annual injury curse struck. In some respects we do miss the balance he does provide and could be the most viable option for the left-hand side.

Claudio Reyna - Has the potential to be a solid partner to Barton in the centre but has not overly impressed and it could be that time is fast running out on his City career. It may be unlikely that his contract is renewed at the seasons end.

Hatem Trabelsi - Another of Pearce's summer signings who struggled with injury at the beginning of the campaign. Looks technically to be a good player and is an option on the right hand. Rumours are though that he can be on his way if a 'big' club comes knocking.

Stephen Ireland - Has forced his way back into the reckoning in recent games and it may be time for Pearce to give him an extended run in the side. For me though, he is an effective player from the bench but I have doubts he is a ninety minute player.

Dietmar Hamman - Nothing short of a washout so far. Potentially can be the answer alongside Barton but upto now has only featured in fits and starts and looked well short. Hopefully the second half of the season will show an improvement.

Ousmane Dabo - Summer signings must equate to injury problems as Dabo has also suffered, and has been subject to rumours linking him with a move away from the club. Another one who needs to have a stronger second half.

DeMarcus Beasley - Signed as the answer to the left-hand side problems, but doesn't look to be a genuine 'wide man'. Again, injuries have stalled his progress but has added spark when he has been had an opportunity. Needs to show more to avoid the same fate as Rieira and Musampa.

Ishmael Miller - Another candidate for the left-hand side and possesses tremendous athletic ability, but looks to be still too raw to be around the first team and needs to spend some more time working on the finer points of his game.

Michael Johnson - A solitary performance against Wigan where he was one of the few to emerge with any credit. Looks to be a tidy player though and was rewarded with a long term deal, which should result in him knocking on the first team door.

Strikers:

Bernardo Corradi - Struggled to adapt to the Premiership and the side early on, but in recent times looked more comfortable. Won't be full of goals but could be a useful link-up man but needs to avoid silly dismissals.

Giorgios Samaras - A year into his City career and the doubters are growing more vocal as he has not delivered as hoped. He looks lightweight and yet to fully adapt to the Premiership. If he becomes a 'boo boy' target this could undermine his confidence.

Paul Dickov - Re-signed for a second spell and has polarised fan opinion, with many unconvinced by what is wholeheartedness actually contributes to the side. Yet to score this season, he is offering little in attacking threat.

Darius Vassell - Spent part of the early season unfit, and once he gained fitness saw himself shunted out onto the left hand side - where he has been willing but largely unsuccesful. A surprise that he has not been given more of an opportunity in a more central role.