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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 9 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 2, 2008

Sven speculation rises amid Man City silence

Sven-Goran Eriksson was prevented from discussing his apparently perilous position as Manchester City manager on Friday as the crisis swirling around the club threatened to reach farcical proportions.

With rumours already rife of approaches to the likes of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Jose Mourinho, City officials cancelled Eriksson's routine Friday press conference citing 'exceptional circumstances'.

But City's silence has not stopped reports of wantaway stars, potential boycotts and fan fury in support of Eriksson, who - despite heading for the exit - is bizarrely still expected to lead the club on their tour of the Far East later this month.

Former City goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel today described that tour as an 'interruption' and revealed he had spoken to his son Kaspar, a City player who is currently on loan at Coventry.

'He is not complaining but there's a lot of other players complaining about it and I fully understand it,' Schmeichel senior said.

'I understand if you go on a pre-season tour it's partly promotional and partly training. But when you have been through a very, very tough season the players are worn out and really tired.'

Meanwhile, with the future of players like Micah Richards and Richard Dunne already in jeopardy, City also face a goalkeeping exodus with both Kaspar Schmeichel and Andreas Isaksson set to look elsewhere.

Peter Schmeichel added: 'It (the Far East tour) is one of the last things he's going to do as a Manchester City player. He's leaving this season.'

Schmeichel's news comes a matter of hours after Isaksson told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet: 'It feels like I'm done here now. I can't risk staying one more season with the same situation I've had this year. So a move is necessary for me.'

Amid the chaos Eriksson, who arrived at the club's Carrington training ground at shortly after 9am, has to prepare his side for the final two away games of their promising Barclays Premier League season.

City head to Anfield on Sunday with Dunne expected back after missing the defeat to Fulham with a hamstring strain, but Richards is still sidelined as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

For Eriksson it is a far from ideal ending to an encouraging first season which has been mired in off-field issues like new owner, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's fight to shrug off accusations of human rights abuses in his homeland.

City's alarming penchant for shooting themselves in the foot has dumbfounded many fans who are backing a campaign by the local Manchester Evening News to convince the club to keep Eriksson in charge.

Behind a full back-page banner urging fans to mobilise and `Save Our Sven', officials from City's two biggest supporters' groups, the Centenary Supporters' Association and the Official Supporters' Club, came together to back the boss.

CSA chairman Alex Cannon told the MEN: 'Sven is the best manager we have had for many years and is the man the supporters trust and feel is the best man for the job. He cannot be replaced.'

City even scored an own goal in their solitary attempt to put a positive spin on their current crisis with an official website story in which Vedran Corluka revealed how much things have improved under Eriksson.

'I think we've done well this season and when you compare it to last season you can see the big difference,' Corluka told the club's website.

'I think for a first season it was good and I'm happy that I chose this club.'