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25/04/2012 08:25

Papers: Blues fighting fit

Jamie Jackon writes in The Guardian...

City fighting fit
Manchester City should be at full strength for the derby with Manchester United on Monday with only Micah Richards requiring rehab due to a hamstring problem, while Mario Balotelli is available again following his suspension. Richards missed the 2-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, which Yaya Touré did play in despite being hampered by a recent knee problem. The Ivorian will be available and Roberto Mancini, the City manager, hopes he has recovered his full form by Monday. "If Yaya Touré is on form, he is a top player," Mancini said: "But we need him to be 100% and on Sunday he was so-so. We also need to check on Richards to see how his hamstring is. Providing he has recovered, with Balotelli back from suspension, we will have everyone." The Italian has missed the past three games after he was sent off in the 1-0 defeat at Arsenal this month.

Elsewhere, The Express claim Sir Alex is keen to recall defender Chris Smalling to his starting XI for next Monday's crucial Manchester derby. They say the young Englishman will come in at right back, in place of Brazilian Rafael.

Meanwhile, Daily Mirror columnist Oliver Holt has sung the praises of Antonio Valencia and admitted he voted for the Ecuador international ahead of Robin van Persie for Footballer of the Year. Why? "He is a rare breed these days, a self-effacing Premier League player content to let others take the headlines. But he is a player of great courage and wonderful skill who has been crucial to Manchester United's challenge for the Premier League title this season."

As you'd expect, though, most of the sports pages are dominated by Chelsea's incredible performance in Barcelona last night. The Blues, down to 10 men after John Terry was sent off, came back from 2-0 down to clinch a draw and seal a place in the Champions League final. Congratulations, Chelsea.

More: Sir Alex demands derby response | Nani - We can still win the title

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