City’s cup clash with West Ham is still important for one man – Stevan Jovetic

Montenegrin summer signing expected to make long-awaited injury return for Manchester City.

Back in the summer, Manchester City fans were full of excitement about their four big name signings ahead of the Premier League season.

But while Spanish duo Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas have proved instant hits at the Etihad Stadium, and Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho has established himself as a key man in midfield, Stevan Jovetic is yet to make an impression.

The Montenegrin striker cost £22.8million when he arrived from Fiorentina in July, but he has been stricken by a series of injuries and health problems.

Calf, groin and hamstring injuries, as well as a stomach complaint, have limited the 24-year-old to just five appearances in blue, so far but he should return in the deadest of dead rubber matches at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

City arrive in London with a 6-0 aggregate advantage from the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final tie and there is very little chance of West Ham United being able to overcome them.

Therefore the match will take on a different complexion, with Manuel Pellegrini sure to give some under-used players, such as Jack Rodwell, a run out.

Jovetic will hope to take the opportunity to get on the score-sheet and try and force his way into the side for the second half of the campaign.

The former Fiorentina striker posted on his Instagram account ‘back on Tuesday’ although his manager was more cautious after City’s victory over Cardiff on Saturday.

Pellegrini said: “We will see how he works. On Monday we will decide. I will think about that.”

But surely now is the time to take a risk on Jovetic and see what he can bring to the side.

The Montenegrin’s rise to the top was startling at his first club Partizan Belgrade.

He made his debut for the Serbian team aged just 16 and scored a UEFA Cup hat-trick at the age of 17 as his reputation rocketed.

In 2007 he made his debut in Montengro’s first ever international game and has since scored 12 times in his 30 caps for the Balkan country.

After making a £7million move to Serie A’s Fiorentina in 2008 Jovetic enjoyed a productive five years.

He netted braces as the Viola beat Liverpool and Bayern Munich in the 2009-10 Champions League before a cruciate ligament injury forced him to miss the whole of the 2010-11 season.

He returned to net 14 times in 29 games in 2011-12 and left Italy having scored 40 goals in 134 matches – not bad figures for a young forward who also plays out wide and tends to drop deep into an attacking midfield role.

In his five appearances for City so far he has scored twice, both in a 5-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic in an earlier round of the Capital One Cup.

But he has a long way to go to usurp strike rivals Negredo, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko in Pellegrini’s pecking order.

Negredo and Aguero both have 21 goals and Dzeko has 16 so far with all three playing crucial roles in City’s blistering form of recent weeks.

Yet Jovetic certainly possesses the quality to add an extra dimension to the City attack, so if he can make the most of an opportunity at Upton Park on Tuesday Pellegrini may have a good kind of headache to deal with.

image: © carca

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch