Let me start by wishing you all a Happy New Year. We didn't get off to the best possible start, but I'm beginning to think that City have never beaten a lower league side in any cup competition ever, so there's no point in dwelling on it.
Mark Hughes has miraculously managed to dodge the bullet despite the embarrassing defeat to West Brom and that diabolical display against Forest in the Cup. Sandwiched in between was the impressive 5-1 rout over an admittedly woeful Hull side and the Daniel Sturridge-inspired comeback at Ewood Park.
This week sees the dead man walking take his side down to the south coast to face Tony Adams' fellow free-falling strugglers, Portsmouth. With only five points separating City in 13th place and Wigan in 7th, a victory is an absolute must if we are to begin climbing up the league and rescue some semblance of credibility from this season.
City will be without the injured SWP for this one, but fortunately Darius 'goal machine' Vassell is fit and raring to go, so you can all breathe a huge sigh of relief. Hughes will presumably throw new signing Wayne Bridge straight into the mix, which should hopefully shore things up a little down the left-hand side.
The match kicks off at 7pm (UAE time) and the ever beery and cheery mcfcUAE will be meeting at the Players' Lounge from 5pm to watch the match live on the big screen with full English commentary. Aston Villa host local rivals WBA at 4.45pm, while Liverpool travel to Stoke at 9.30pm. Arsenal Vs Bolton and Newcastle Vs West Ham are the day's other stand-out fixtures, also kicking off at 7pm.
See you there.