Last updated : 15 October 2004 By Ben Collins

The 32-year old has struggled with injury ever since his move from Real Madrid at the start of last season, and has only made two substitute appearances this term due to an ankle, then Achilles problem.

Now after rest and hard work in training, McManaman hopes to boost City as they face Jose Mourinho's star-studded line-up. And with Joey Barton (knee op-6 weeks) and Claudio Reyna (groin-3 weeks) both sidelined, Kevin Keegan would welcome his return.

"I feel very good. It has settled down very well and I have to hand a lot of thanks to the gaffer, the staff and the physios," he told the official City website.

"When I had an ankle problem at the start of the season it coincided with my Achilles problem. I went to see the doctor he told me to rest it and fortunately it was also the same time as an international break."

"The fact that the gaffer had given me that time to rest has been great and I feel good now.

"I have been on the bike, in the pool and on the road so my fitness has never been a problem. It wasn't even a problem when I was off in the last six weeks - I've been doing a lot of work, though it was non-contact work."

The former England international is therefore now ready to get his City career up and running.

"I do feel hungry to get back out there and play. Since I have been here I have had so many injuries," added McManaman.

"I felt good in pre-season and then I got this injury and it set me back. It is very frustrating and so I can't wait to get back.

"I really do want to play in this game. My long term aim was always this Chelsea game so everything has gone to plan."

McManaman admits City will have their work cut out against unbeaten Chelsea, but feels his team-mates should take heart from their visit last season and the last home game with Arsenal - even though City lost both to a single goal.

"It's another test for City and we have nothing to lose," he added.

"We performed commendably against Arsenal in that we worked and battled hard and our fans will maybe expect the same performance with a little bit of end product.

"We should have beaten Chelsea last year and they ended up winning by a late goal. I expect us to put up a very good performance."