West Ham v Manchester City: Fringe duo Stevan Jovetic and Jack Rodwell could make return in Capital One Cup
Both Jovetic and Rodwell have been hampered by injury this season meaning they have missed the majority of City's impressive run of form
Tuesday 21 January 2014
Stevan Jovetic and Jack Rodwell could both return for Manchester City as they look to advance to the Capital One Cup final on Tuesday night.
City travel to Upton Park for the second leg of their semi-final holding a 6-0 lead over West Ham and striker Jovetic and midfielder Rodwell could be handed a chance to impress after both have been hampered by injuries throughout the season.
Montenegro forward Jovetic has almost become the forgotten man since his £22million move from Fiorentina last summer.
While fellow forwards Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko have scored 58 of City's 103 goals this season between them, Jovetic has claimed just two from five appearances.
Hamstring and calf injuries have been his main problems but boss Manuel Pellegrini has repeatedly stressed his importance to the squad for the second half of the season.
England international Rodwell has made just three starts this season after more of the hamstring problems that have blighted his career.
When asked if either had a chance of playing at West Ham, Pellegrini said: "Maybe, we will see. On Monday we will decide."
He added: "We have to play on Tuesday. The semi-final is not finished.
"Of course we have made an important step (towards the final) but we must see which players will play and the way we will do it."
City, who remain in contention to win four trophies, are in formidable form.
Pellegrini's men are unbeaten in 17 games, 15 of which they have won and Saturday's 4-2 defeat of Cardiff took them through the 100-goal barrier in just their 34th game of the campaign.
Despite their intimidating form, Pablo Zabaleta insists Pellegrini's men will not be going through the motions as they look to rubber-stamp their place at Wembley.
The right-back, one of those who may be given a night off, said: "It doesn't matter about the first leg.
"We have to go into that game thinking it's a new game, even though we have six goals.
"We need to try and win it, like we are doing in other games at the moment. We are winning games and working hard.
"West Ham are in a tough moment, they are at home and will want to win it. So we need to take it seriously and we will."
City's demolition of the Hammers increased the scrutiny of manager Sam Allardyce, coming just three days after the London side crashed out of the FA Cup with a 5-0 loss at Nottingham Forest.
They did recover to win in the Barclays Premier League for the first time in seven games with a 2-0 success at Cardiff but Saturday's 3-1 loss to Newcastle left the pressure on.
West Ham remain in the bottom three of the table and the return clash against City offers the chance to restore some pride ahead of a tough trip to Chelsea.
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