Football: Tueart calls for a halt to City slump

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The Independent Online
Dennis Tueart, the former Manchester City player who became a director at Maine Road last week, has warned manager Frank Clark that the club's fortunes need to change soon.

Tueart, who scored in City's 1976 League Cup final win, said: "He [Clark] is judged on the part he plays in the team's progress. We have been mates for years but patience is a word that has been banded about here for far too long. I'm on the board to put forward the opinions of major shareholders - and I will do that."

At the same time, Tueart indicated that he would continue to support Clark, and said that those who had suggested that Clark's job was in jeopardy at the moment should be ignored.

"Frank Clark's the manager and he will run that side of it. I spoke to Frank this week and he mentioned there were one or two malicious people he felt trying to do damage to this football club," Tueart said.

"Now this situation makes me believe there are devious, malicious people trying to cause problems for Manchester City. We want a situation of togetherness here. We're trying to pull together to achieve better results for the club."

Clark himself, who took over as manager a year ago, said: "I admit that there have not been many ups and I'm obviously disappointed to be in almost the same position as when I came."

Clark also said that Everton had recently made an inquiry for City's much admired midfield player Georgi Kinkladze, but insisted the Georgian international is staying at Maine Road.

"Gio is very happy at the club, and so long as he's happy, there will be no discussions about a transfer," Clark said.

City play host to the First Division leaders Middlesbrough today with just 21 points and the season at its half-way stage. The Northern Ireland goalkeeper Tommy Wright is set to return for City, replacing Martyn Margetson, who has missed training this week with a back problem. Kinkladze is hoping to return after missing last week's defeat at Birmingham with ankle trouble. Middlesbrough, with a three-point cushion at the top over Nottingham Forest, have their Brazilian Emerson suspended, so Mark Summerbell could play in midfield.

Forest play at home against Stockport, with Colin Cooper likely to drop back to defence in place of the injured Jon Olav Hjelde. Andy Johnson should return to the centre of midfield, while Steve Stone faces a late fitness test, with Thierry Bonalair ready to take his place on the wing if he fails.

Kevin Cooper is hoping to keep his place on the wing in the Stockport line-up after scoring a spectacular goal in their 3-1 win over Tranmere last week. The midfield player Paul Cook is doubtful with an ankle injury and the full-back Colin Woodthorpe is struggling with a groin strain picked up in training.

Third-placed Sheffield United travel to struggling Bury and may give David Lee a debut in the centre of their defence after signing him on a month's loan from Chelsea. A win could take them into second place.

The only other club that could potentially move into the spot behind Middlesbrough are managerless West Bromwich Albion, who are at home to bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield. Paul Holmes is hoping to shake off a calf strain for Albion while Lee Hughes and Bob Taylor are both in contention for starts.

The on-loan goalkeeper Steve Harper goes straight into the Huddersfield squad and may start. If Huddersfield manage to win a point, while Portsmouth, who play hosts to Charton fail to do so, Huddersfield will move off the bottom.

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