Pearce gets chairman's support for longer stint at City

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The Independent Football

"It is too soon to talk about a new contract, but hopefully Stuart will carry on and on and on," said Wardle. "He has done a marvellous job since taking over from Kevin [Keegan]. The whole place is buzzing."

The former England captain took City to within a missed penalty of a place in this season's Uefa Cup and despite last weekend's setback, the club remain in the Premiership's top five with 11 points from their opening six games.

"Stuart has impressed everyone with his attitude and the way he has got the team playing and long may that continue," Wardle said.

Pearce's progress has been remarkable given that Shaun Wright-Phillips was sold to Chelsea in the summer and a search for new recruits yielded only Andy Cole, Darius Vassell and the Qatar international Yasser Hussein, who has been signed on a six-month trial. Wardle knows the squad lacks the depth to make a top-six finish a realistic aim, so, although the majority of Wright-Phillips' £21m fee and the £3m from an extension of Thomas Cook's sponsorship, will go to reducing the club's debts, money may be available when the transfer window opens in January.

"Everyone is aware of the financial position," said Wardle. "The sale of Shaun has helped to get the debt down and while we don't want to take any risks, we will discuss the situation with Stuart and see what we can do when January comes.

City travel to League One's Doncaster tonight in the Carling Cup. They last lifted any meaningful silverware in 1976 and although their recent record in the competition is not good, having failed to progress beyond round four in the past four seasons, a major impact in this year's tournament is anticipated.

Their last trip to the Yorkshire club saw Joey Barton spark a mass brawl in a pre-season friendly.

And, judging by the atmosphere around the ground when he went to watch Doncaster in action against Scunthorpe on Saturday, Pearce is expecting another high-octane battle.

"When I went to collect my ticket, everyone in the ticket office was wearing Doncaster v Man City T-shirts," he said. "They are up for this game. It is going to be a tough game but one we have got to win."

The former England pair of Cole and Trevor Sinclair will be absent with hamstring and knee injuries respectively, while Barton faces a late fitness test on a shin problem. However, Pearce says he will field a strong line-up, and the likes of Hussein, Nedum Onuoha and Geert de Vlieger may all be involved.

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