Man City V Blackburn at Etihad Stadium - Match Preview

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told his side to treat every game in their title run-in like a Champions League final.

The Barclays Premier League leaders resume their championship quest following their latest European exploits as struggling Blackburn visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

City have a two-point advantage with 13 games remaining and Mancini is braced for a stern test of resolve in the season's closing months.

The Italian said: "It is impossible to be complacent.

"Every game is like a Champions League final and for this reason we need good concentration.

"Now we have a game against Blackburn on Saturday and I think every game from now until the end will be difficult.

"When you play against a squad playing against relegation, it can be more difficult.

"Blackburn won away against Manchester United and we know they are a good team, they are strong on the counter-attack.

"They have been playing very well in the last two or three weeks. They are playing to get away from the bottom."

City's title challenge is boosted by the return of inspirational midfielder Yaya Toure from the African Nations Cup.

Toure has not played in the Premier League since the victory over Liverpool on January 3, but returned last week to feature in both legs of the Europa League win over Porto.

During his absence, City went out of both domestic cup competitions and suffered a disappointing league defeat at Everton.

Mancini said: "Yaya is a high-quality player, he used to play for Barcelona and he is used to playing to win every game.

"I think his mentality is very strong and that can help all the team.

"But we have other important players and I think it is a good mix."

Micah Richards and Gareth Barry are expected to be fit for City after picking up minor niggles in midweek, but Carlos Tevez is still working back towards match fitness following his self-imposed exile in Argentina.

Blackburn assistant manager Eric Black thinks the team's recent exploits in away matches against big clubs will set them in good stead for Saturday - even though they were comprehensively thrashed in one of them.

Rovers - currently 17th in the table, above the relegation zone on goal difference - will go to the Etihad Stadium to face the league leaders taking great heart from their shock 3-2 victory against City's local rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve.

Since then, another stand-out result has been the humiliating 7-1 defeat they suffered at Arsenal earlier this month, but Black believes the players will feel strengthened by that experience as well, having now carefully dissected exactly where they went wrong at the Emirates Stadium.

"The team have gone to Manchester United and got a fantastic result," he said.

"The records (City have won all 12 of their home league games this season) would suggest that it is going to be a difficult task, but records are there to be broken.

"We can also take a lot from the performance at the Emirates Stadium.

"It was a very negative one for us at the time, but we have certainly analysed it and the players have taken a lot from it and I'm sure we will be in much better condition going to Manchester City."

Rovers midfielder David Dunn is a doubt due to a thigh injury.

Winger Junior Hoilett, substituted early in the second half of the 3-2 win over QPR, is fit, but Jason Lowe begins a two-match ban having picked up his 10th booking of the season in that game and fellow defender Gael Givet is still suspended as well.

Centre-back Christopher Samba, who has not played since January 2 and last month handed in a transfer request, appears poised to leave Rovers to join Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.

Source: PA

Source: PA