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By ESPN Staff

Eriksson hopeful over new Richards deal

Sven-Goran Eriksson is hoping that Micah Richards is the next bright thing to commit his long-term future to Manchester City.

Discussions are ongoing with representatives of the 19-year-old defender who has been named in the England squad to face Israel and Russia in crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Richards has come through the ranks at City, like promising midfielder Michael Johnson, who signed a new deal this week.

Richards is looking to win his eighth cap after an impressive display in the defeat by Germany in a warm-up match.

It is little wonder Eriksson wants to seal a deal with the youngster, now the transfer window is closed until January.

The City boss was guarded about the contract details but did state: 'I know that discussions are going on but nobody has told me it is done yet. But it will be done.'

England have been hampered by a number of injuries but Eriksson is keen to distance himself from international matters, now Steve McClaren is in charge.

'I feel sorry for every player that is injured,' said the City boss. 'It is a bit of bad luck but unfortunately part of football.

'I have no advice (for McClaren), just good luck and qualify. That's it.'

Eriksson believes that having players on international duty is a mark of how well a club is progressing.

He said: 'I spoke to the captain (Richard Dunne) about this and he said `What is happening, I was supposed to be the only one in the national team'.

'Suddenly we have 10 players away. But it is good rather than frustrating. You know you have very good players.

'If you do not have international players then you have others who are not so good. It is not a good option.'

Eriksson looks certain to recall his key players at Blackburn tomorrow following the midweek Carling Cup victory against Bristol City.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is likely replace Joe Hart between the posts after a bright start to his league career.

Eriksson said: 'They are two young players and there is not much between them.

'But I think it would be seen as bad management by taking Kasper out of this game.'

Brazilian midfielder Geovanni is expected to shake off a calf injury in time for the match.