City’s Mancini hoping United are at full strength for derby

MANCHESTER City manager Roberto Mancini is hoping Manchester United talisman Wayne Rooney recovers in time for Saturday’s derby – because he does not want Sir Alex Ferguson to have any excuses if they lose.

City go into the clash at Eastlands in ebullient spirits, having smashed 14 goals in their last three Premier League games. United, meanwhile, have been in a slump since Rooney suffered an ankle injury, and the 34-goal striker remains a doubt for the weekend.

“I think it is better if Rooney plays on Saturday,” said Mancini. “He is a fantastic player and has had an amazing season. He will be a danger, of course, but United have many fine players in their team. But we have beaten them once at home already and can do it again.

“I think it is best if both teams are full strength and then the side who takes the three points can truly say the best team won and there is no reason that cannot be us.”

Always a spicy affair, this Manchester derby promises to be even more keenly-contested as both sides are eyeing big prizes: United, the title, and City, a Champions League spot.

He added: “This isn’t just a game about local pride, we want to finish in fourth place and every match from now until the last will be just as important.”