Daniel Cook gives an insight into tomorrow's opponents
Ahead of tomorrow's early clash at The Etihad, Bluemoon caught up with Daniel Cook from the Hopkin Looking To Curl One blog to get the lowdown on the opposition...
What are your expectations for this season?
Prior to the departure of Tony Pulis, our collective expectations were relatively high, particularly after an 11th placed finish last season. Now though, we are all simply hoping to survive another season in the Premier League, not that any of us are entirely sure where the points will come from.
Are you happy with the manager?
The answer to that changes on a weekly basis for most of our supporters. After seeing Warnock brought in as a steadying hand in the wake of Pulis's departure, we're all well aware that he probably won't be here in August, regardless of which division we're in. Consequently, the regular grumbles tend to be tempered by the knowledge that it's far from a long-term arrangement.
Who are your key players?
Given our lack of goals recently, there is no doubt that Scott Dann and Joel Ward are pivotal to our chances of success in defence. Similarly, without the steel of Jedinak, McArthur and Ledley in central midfield we would be on a hiding to nothing from week to week.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
Yes and no. There was some great business done over the summer, with the signing of the aforementioned McArthur a particular high point. That being said, we desperately need a new striker in January, alongside a new left-back, with fans having been frustrated by the lack of foresight shown by the club in the summer from that perspective.
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
There aren't a great deal of academy players or unknown talents on the fringes of the side this season. Our squad as a whole is built around what you would probably call "honest professionals". Whilst they may not be revered throughout the game, as a group, they tend to bind together well enough to grind out results at pivotal times.
Your Achilles heel?
Although it's improved markedly of late, our defending from set pieces has been a real issue under Warnock's management. Thanks in part to a constantly changing back four, you could argue that it's been a byproduct of our unique circumstances, but we'll have to be careful not to slip back to old habits on Saturday.
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
Sergio Aguero without a doubt. Given our need for a natural goal scorer, it's a given. From an outsider's point of view, it genuinely feels as though he's up there with Messi and Ronaldo as one of the world's brightest talents.
What is your perception of City as a club?
Whilst some see City as the northern equivalent of Chelsea, I feel that their commitment to the improvement of the club as a whole, such as their investment in the new academy facilities, sets a fine example for the rest of the club's in the top flight. Of course, the huge fees that have been spent skew people's perspective from time to time, but in the main, they seem to be going about things in the right manner.
Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?
Kelly Dann Delaney Ward
Puncheon Jedinak Ledley Bolasie
I'll go with 1-1.. We live in hope!