'Utopia' for Pearce as Weaver rescues City

Post-James era suddenly looking up as goalkeeping crisis turns into a wealth of options

By Simon Stone

A major goalkeeping selection headache could soon be looming for Stuart Pearce - and the Manchester City manager could not be more delighted.

When it became apparent David James was intent on taking up a lucrative offer from Portsmouth, it appeared City were heading for a crisis. With only the injury-prone Nicky Weaver available with any Premiership experience, a club who in recent years have boasted the likes of Peter Schmeichel and David Seaman between the sticks looked to be in serious trouble.

Even the £2m arrival of Andreas Isaksson from Rennes came with a bad-luck tag, as the Swedish World Cup keeper suffered an ankle injury in his first week of training which has so far ruled him out of City's Premiership programme. Isaksson could be back in time to face Blackburn on 17 September.

But now the City fans are not too anxious. In Isaksson's absence Weaver has responded in perfect fashion, producing man-of-the-match displays in the draw with Portsmouth and the victory over Arsenal last month, both of which also saw City keep a clean sheet.

Weaver's present deputy, the teenager Joe Hart, has maintained the progress which saw him earmarked for big things prior to his Eastlands move from Shrewsbury, while Kasper Schmeichel, son of Peter, has earned rave reviews in League Two for his performances at Bury, where the Dane is currently on a three-month loan.

So, when Isaksson reports for duty at Ewood Park this week, Pearce is in the happy position of not being able to offer his first- choice keeper an automatic starting berth.

"I like it when I have competition for places," said Pearce. "I like it when I have to make tough calls. At the moment, I have four players vying for a goalkeeping position who are doing well.

"Joe Hart has already shown he is in contention, the reports we have of Kasper are extremely positive, I paid £2m for an inter-national this summer in Andreas and then we have Nicky, who is in the first team at present having kept successive clean sheets. For me, that is Utopia."

The competition Pearce has been craving in other areas of the field is developing too, with Dietmar Hamann set to increase City's midfield options for tomorrow's trip to Reading.

Hatem Trabelsi may do no better than the bench at the Madejski Stadium as he reaches full match-fitness after an extended summer break. But the Tunisian's presence should help the highly promising youngster Micah Richards eliminate the minor lapses in concentration he still tends to suffer from.

Even in attack Pearce is content, despite the lingering disappointment at Andy Cole's departure and Darius Vassell's absence with a knee injury.

Bernardo Corradi is likely to play as a lone striker against Reading. But in the shadows is another star from City's prolific academy, Daniel Sturridge, who turned his back on the chance to join Chelsea to sign an extended contract.

"I didn't want Andy to leave and I won't go back on that, but the situation has opened the door for a few others," said Pearce. "Daniel Sturridge should be thinking it is one less player in front of him now, which should make life a bit easier."

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
arts + entsJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Life and Style
tech

Did she really send it? And if so, what on?

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin married in Venice yesterday
peopleAmal and George Clooney 'planning third celebration in England'
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley at the premiere of Laggie at Toronto Film Festival 2014
theatreActress 'to make Broadway debut'
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker