Manchester City will look to lay down a marker when they welcome Manchester United to Eastlands for the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final.

Mancini: First taste of Manchester derby

Mancini: First taste of Manchester derby

The game has been highly anticipated by both sets of supporters ever since the draw was made last month with City fans desperate to prove that they are now the team to beat in Manchester.

The fact that the game was called off a fortnight ago, thanks to the heavy snow, has only heightened expectation around the city.

With United looking incapable of shrugging off the inconsistency that has blighted their season so far City sense that now is the perfect time to deliver a knock-out blow to their neighbours.

However, after winning his first four games in charge, City boss Roberto Mancini finally tasted defeat against Everton on Saturday and it remains to be seen how his side react against the champions.

Both sides will be hard pushed to match the 4-3 thriller at Old Trafford earlier in the season when a 96th minute Michael Owen strike won the game for the hosts to maintain United’s position as top dogs.

One man who will want to win more than most will be former Red Devil Carlos Tevez. The Argentinian was loved by United supporters during his two years at the club but learned that such affection can be quickly forgotten if you join your city rivals.

The 25-year-old was shocked to hear his every touch booed at Old Trafford in September and he has already stated he is out for revenge on Tuesday.

The game marks a significant occasion for City with the club determined to reach their first major final since 1981 and set up a chance to win their first major trophy for 34 years.

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that he will continue to mix youth with experience for the tie despite his fledglings under-performing in the FA Cup against Leeds just a few weeks ago.

City news

Roque Santa Cruz will sit out after it was revealed on Monday that he will be out of action for a month with a persistent calf injury.

The striker picked up the problem at Everton on Saturday and was replaced by Robinho. However the Brazilian lasted less than an hour and found himself substituted with half an hour to spare.

Mancini denies that he has had a rift with the former Real Madrid man but the forward’s days at City appear to be numbered. However despite his indifferent form the 25-year-old has a tendency to turn it on at Eastlands in the big games and Mancini could opt to go with Robinho from the start against United.

Stephen Ireland looks likely to make the bench after recovering from a hamstring strain but new signing Patrick Vieira will have to wait for his debut having still not recovered from the calf problem he suffered in his final game for Inter Milan.

Defenders Nedum Onuoha (calf), Joleon Lescott (knee) and Wayne Bridge (knee) remain sidelined as does long-term casualty Michael Johnson (knee).

United news

Dimitar Berbatov is a doubt for United after limping off against Burnley at the weekend with a dead leg so Michael Owen or Mame Biram Diouf could start.

Rio Ferdinand (calf) is close to a return but will not be risked for the cup clash with Ryan Giggs also expected to miss out.

Ben Foster returned to training last week after going down with flu but could now be out with a back injury.

Nemanja Vidic (calf) is also closing in on a comeback but the City clash appears to have come too soon for the Serbian centre-half.

Owen Hargreaves (knee) has begun training but is not yet fit enough to be considered while John O’Shea (thigh) is another set to miss out meaning Rafael and Fabio Da Silva could get their chance to shine in the full-back berths.

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