City in high spirits

Last updated : 16 September 2007 By Ben Collins
The Blues' fine start to the season was recognised with Sven-Goran Eriksson being named Manager of the Month for August.

Meanwhile, Micah Richards' superb performances for club and country were also acknowledged as he scooped the Player of the Month award.

"It's really nice to win this award," he told "I thought I had played well this month but it's been a great team effort here at City as well.

"I did well when I went away with England, but this is very special for me. Whether I play at right-back or centre-half does not really matter to me, I'll always give 100% for the team."

Having starred at right-back in England's 3-0 wins against Israel and Russia and scoring his 1st international goal, Richards will be back at centre-half for City in the live Sky game on Sunday (4pm ko).

With Richard Dunne suspended following his red card at Blackburn, Richards will be partnered by Nedum Onuoha or Vedran Corluka.

Onuoha scored for England's U21s in a 3-0 win against Montenegro last weekend before helping them win 2-0 in Bulgaria. City keeper Joe Hart also played in both games.

Corluka, meanwhile, followed up Croatia's 2-0 win at Estonia with a 6-0 away win against Andorra in midweek, meaning Croatia remain top of England's group.

Andreas Iasksson could push Kasper Schmeichel for selection against Villa after proving his fitness in two games for Sweden, while Martin Petrov scored a penalty in Bulgaria's 3-0 win over Luxembourg in midweek.

Elano came on as a sub in Brazil's 3-1 win against Mexico but was sent off for a rash challenge. City will need his creativity to break down a solid Villa defence which kept Chelsea at bay last time out.

Villa will be on a high after that fine win but if we are to achieve anything this season, this is the sort of game we should be winning. The signs are good given everyone's national team form.