Belfast Telegraph

Lescott primed for Hammers clash

Joleon Lescott insists Manchester City will take nothing for granted at West Ham on Saturday.

On the face of it, West Ham should not represent too much of a challenge given their woeful form this term. However, Lescott only needs to remind himself that the Hammers dumped Manchester United out of the Carling Cup this month and that City have lost at fellow basement dwellers Wolves this season to realise nothing is for certain in this crazy season.

"You can't take any match for granted," he said. "West Ham are a capable side on their day and do have a bit of momentum going into our game. Any team in the Premier League is capable of beating anyone, we have seen that already, so we will have to be on our guard."

City have consolidated their position in the top four of the Barclays Premier League by recording successive wins over Fulham and Bolton and the Blues are now aiming to make the most of high-profile clashes involving Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea over the next three weekends.

Roberto Mancini's side know if they keep their present run going, they will not be far off the Premier League summit by New Year's Day and ready for a concerted push for glory in the second half of the season.

Although the Wolves game - and home draws with Blackburn and Birmingham - suggests otherwise, Lescott believes City are a more durable outfit this term, which makes them more likely to resist the barrage that awaits them at Upton Park.

"In previous years we have failed at those hurdles," he said. "We are a bit more resilient this season. We have kept a lot more clean sheets and we are a lot harder to beat so I don't think West Ham will be looking forward to us going there."

Barely a week after lamenting his lack of opportunities at Eastlands this season, Lescott could be set for a run in the side.

Kolo Toure suffered a calf injury against Bolton at the weekend and while there has been no update on the Ivorian, Blues boss Roberto Mancini will be loathe to take any risks with the defender at such a crucial stage of the season.

"Getting into this side and staying in it is the toughest challenge of my life," said Lescott. "This season I haven't featured as much as I would have liked but I don't have many complaints. Vincent (Kompany) and Kolo have been excellent. I do think I am as good as them though and I know when my chance comes I have to take it."

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