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Manchester City rest youths ahead of Chelsea clash in FA Cup

Manchester City appear to be preparing to utilise some of their youth players in this weekend's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Chelsea after several were left out of an under-21 game on Monday night.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini threatened to play a young side after the cup tie was switched to Sunday for live television coverage, less than 24 hours before his squad fly to Ukraine for a Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev.

He wanted the game to go ahead on the Saturday but police were unwilling to allow that to happen with Chelsea's neighbours Fulham also in action, while a request to switch the game to a Friday night was turned down.

City are competing in four competitions but, with seven players missing through injury, Pellegrini is prepared to rest some senior players for the game at Stamford Bridge.

He said earlier his month: "I think it [the FA Cup] is a serious competition and not a competition you can throw away but at this moment, with so many injured players and the chance to try and get to the Champions League quarterfinal for the first time, I think it's a case where we are going to prioritise.

"We have to play Champions League on Wednesday. We have to travel to Ukraine on Monday. There's no reason why we can't play on Saturday."

Bersant Celina has said he feels ready to play first-team football for Manchester City.

Elite Development Squad coach Simon Davies has confirmed that some members of his squad are in contention for the match.

"What I would say from my own career and from this career for the boys is whatever way the opportunity comes up you need to grab it," Davies told the Manchester Evening News. "That's the key thing.

"Some may travel to Chelsea so this is a really important time for all of them. It's fantastic that they're getting their opportunity. The manager is looking at them. If and when the opportunity comes they've got to take it because it's one of the best teams in England and Europe and it's not easy to get in."

Youngsters Bersant Celina, Manu Garcia, Aleix Garcia and Kean Bryan appear to be the leading contenders for inclusion in the squad after they were all left out of an U21 game against Leicester City on Monday night.

Attacking midfielder Celina, 19, came on as a substitute in the last two rounds of the FA Cup, while Manu Garcia, 18, came off the bench in two Capital One Cup victories earlier in the season, scoring in the 5-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Aleix Garcia, 18, and Bryan, 19, are both yet to make their first-team debuts but have been unused subs.

Celina told the MEN: "I feel ready [for first-team football] but obviously we're at one of the biggest clubs in the world. It's always hard to get in the team but if I get the chance then I am ready."

Reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero is also expected to replace Joe Hart, while 19-year-old striker Kelechi Iheanacho has started for City in their previous two FA Cup ties, scoring in the 3-0 win at Norwich City in the third round and hitting a hat trick in the 4-0 victory at Aston Villa in the fourth round.

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.


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