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Game preview and thread: City v Fulham

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Back in the league amidst a run of Cup fixtures, Mark Hughes returns to the club for the first time since his sacking looking to avenge the 4-1 defeat he suffered at Craven Cottage earlier in the season.

Hughes has spoken of his time at the club, saying he can walk back in 'with his head held high' and defended his transfer record at the club. At the time, like most of the City bloggers, I was broadly in support of Hughes and felt that the manner of his dismissal in particular was handled poorly. That said, whilst Hughes put in place plenty (some astute signings amidst the misses and fought to change the mentality inside the club) the decision to have replaced him with Roberto Mancini has proved to be the correct one, with Mancini having made great strides over the past fourteen months or so.

With the FA Cup fifth round tie at home to Aston Villa looming (Wednesday), Mancini will have to decide whether to field a strength side or rotate. He is fortunate that (on the face of it at least) the players at his disposal appear a durable bunch and bale to cope with the demands currently being placed on them.

We saw in the fixture earlier in the season that Fulham failed to cope with attacking threat City posed, and the form they showed in the victory over Aris, if replicated, will be enough to earn the points. The ability to get off to a fast start will be key though - something City have not always been able to manage this season at home.

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