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Hunger is back at Barca

Barcelona
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By ESPN Staff

Thatcher set for extended suspension

Ben Thatcher looks certain to have his in-house suspension extended to cover Manchester City's Premiership encounter with Reading on September 11.

The former Wales international is due to respond to his Football Association 'serious foul play' charge 24 hours after the Blues visit to the Madejski Stadium and is therefore eligible to play against Steve Coppell's newly-promoted outfit.

However, the Blues board are due to finalise their punishment for Thatcher's disgraceful challenge on Pedro Mendes later this week and it seems inevitable a heavy fine will be accompanied by an extension of the ban which saw him miss Saturday's win over Arsenal.

With Thatcher's stand-in Stephen Jordan impressing against the Gunners, it was highly unlikely manager Stuart Pearce would call on the 30-year-old for anything other than bench duties anyway.

But there seems to be agreement within the Blues hierarchy that Thatcher should at least sit out one more game.

As the FA are likely to hit the former Tottenham defender with a six-match penalty, it could be the end of October before Thatcher is eligible to play again.

At least he will not be required to serve an extra game because of his pre-season red card in China though, as pre-season dismissals for two yellow cards do not count under the FA's totting-up process.

Thatcher has not travelled to Northern Ireland with the rest of City's squad for a three-day training camp, which incorporates tonight's friendly with Ballymena.

Happily for City though, new signing Hatem Trabelsi is on the trip after finally arriving from Tunisia.

The veteran full-back has struggled to get his work permit and family visa sorted out but has now completed the move and could be in contention to face Reading providing he is able to prove his fitness over the next week.