With European participation next season already achieved by both protagonists, the aim will be to give the fans major silverware for the first time since the 1970s
Watch the FA Cup Final Manchester City v Stoke City this Saturday 5/14 at 10 a.m. ET on FOX Soccer. For a complete match schedule and more, click here
|Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta; De Jong, Barry; A Johnson, Y Toure, Silva; Tevez.|
Manager Roberto Mancini will give City's talismanic striker Carlos Tevez as long as possible to prove his fitness for the FA Cup final. The Argentine came on in the 83rd minute against Tottenham on Tuesday after having been sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury. If he is passed fit it could mean Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli will start on the bench.
Midfielder Gareth Barry missed the last two City matches but trained with the rest of the squad on Wednesday and has been declared fit to play by Mancini, who has no other injury problems.
|Stoke City (4-4-2): Begovic; Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson; Pennant, Whelan, Delap, Etherington; Walters, Jones.|
Central defender Robert Huth, who has contributed nine goals from center back this season, will also be given as long as possible to overcome the knee injury he sustained during Stoke's 3-1 victory over Arsenal last Sunday. The German flew to Spain in midweek to see a specialist.
Boss Tony Pulis also has a major doubt over winger Matthew Etherington, who tore his hamstring in the win over Wolves on April 26 and was expected to be out for four to six weeks but has made rapid progress, responding well to treatment, and could make the final squad. Like Huth, he will undergo a fitness test on the day of the match.
But Pulis will definitely be without defender Danny Higginbotham (knee) and striker Ricardo Fuller (Achilles), who have both been ruled out for the rest of the season.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester City will be appearing in its ninth final, and first for 30 years since losing 3-2 in a replay to Tottenham in 1981.
- City lifted its last major trophy in 1976, beating Newcastle 2-1 in the League Cup final.
- Manchester City is said to be the world's richest club and has reportedly spent £300m on transfer fees since the takeover by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in 2008. In contrast, Stoke's probable starting XI on Saturday cost £26m in total - about the same as Carlos Tevez (pictured right).
- Stoke City has endured a 148-year wait to take part in an FA Cup final. It has been beaten semifinalists on three occasions - in 1899 by Derby County, and in 1971 and 1972 by Arsenal.
- Stoke goes into the final unbeaten in its last five games (won three; drawn two), and already assured of a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League.