Danny Mills is convinced Mark Hughes will still be Manchester City manager in 12 months' time, even if the club fail to win this season's Uefa Cup.
City are favourites to end their 33-year trophy drought by landing European club football's secondary prize in Istanbul on 20 May. With a two-goal advantage from their first leg against Aalborg last Thursday, the Blues should have no problem reaching the last eight this week and entering the hat for Friday's draw. There are some who feel City have to win the tournament to save Hughes' job.
Yet Mills – still a member of the City squad even though he has not played for the Eastlands outfit since 2006 – feels Hughes will avoid the same fate as his predecessor Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was sacked last summer by former owner Thaksin Shinawatra.
"I don't think Mark Hughes' position is under threat at all," said Mills. "He will definitely be here next season and looking to add to the squad. Don't forget Mark has effectively only had one transfer window to work in and he is still trying to get his ethos across to players. There has also been an enormous turnaround in players. We are all a bit disappointed with the league position but it is not surprising with everything that has gone on."
City could certainly do with some stability. Although Mills has long since given up hope of representing the club again, even though his contract does not end until the summer, he still wants the Blues to enjoy better fortunes.
And, as Hughes is their fourth manager in Mills' five years at the club, the former England international is certain City would benefit from having the same man around for a while.
"It has been quite a difficult time as individuals and a very unsettling period for the club," he said. "Managers have been coming and going and there have been so many changes in players and style, it is like a revolving door.
"But if you look at Mark Hughes' record, he gets teams punching above their weight."
Although finishing seventh will almost certainly be enough to secure a place in next season's Europa League, City are not the certainties that some feel they should be and, with a tough run-in, Mills feels winning the Uefa Cup offers their best route back into Europe.
And he is confident that the Blues will finally end their long wait for silverware, which stretches back to the 1976 League Cup final win over Newcastle.
"City have a fantastic chance to win the tournament," said Mills. "There are some big names left but are they big teams? The only team you would really like to avoid are Galatasaray because it is an extremely intimidating place to go and their home form is exceptional. But with the squad City have they can beat anybody."Reuse content