Robinho link with Barça is pure mischief, says Hughes

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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes really does need that lavishly assembled squad this weekend, with no fewer than 11 players injured or doubtful for Manchester City's visit to Wigan Athletic tomorrow.

Club captain Kolo Touré has not trained during the international break owing to a bang on the heel sustained in the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa and Craig Bellamy won't train until today at the earliest having picked up a groin injury with Wales.

Nedum Onuoha is out and Joleon Lescott, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Petrov and Nigel de Jong all require fitness tests. It may be the moment for Micah Richards and Roque Santa Cruz to prove their worth.

Hughes said he does not feel a need to discuss with Robinho the Brazilian's comments that playing for Barcelona would be "fun" and when the notion of a swap deal for Thierry Henry was put to him said he was "not in the process of taking outstanding players out of the team".

Hughes suggested that Robinho's substantive discussion of Barcelona may have been Spanish journalists making mischief. "I would suggest that Robi is outstanding in terms of his ability to counter-attack quickly and I'm trying to get quality in all positions so that if a quality player goes out of the team, I have another quality player to put on."

Alan Wiley, who was branded "unfit" by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, referees tomorrow's game and though Hughes, in keeping with the Premier League's directive did not discuss his individual merits, he made it clear he does not share Ferguson's view on referees' general fitness levels.

"Referees are a lot fitter than when I was playing because they have to be," he said. "They have certain standards that they have to adhere to and reach and if they don't they don't participate in Premier League games."