Bellamy to prove his worth to Mancini
Craig Bellamy came off the bench for Manchester City in Roberto Mancini's first match in charge against Stoke to a rousing reception from the Eastlands faithful.
The reaction of the crowd would have underlined his importance to the City cause to the Italian and one should expect the fiery Welshman to return to the starting line-up for the trip to Wolves in place of the ineffectual Robinho.
The Brazilian did not want to play for Mark Hughes and it looks a similar story for Mancini if his performance against Stoke is anything to go by. One can now see why Real Madrid were so willing to let this talented individual leave, the key word of course being individual as he is certainly no team player.
If my prediction of a recall for Bellamy in place of Robinho is correct then the 4/6 about a second win under Mancini looks a good bet, if it isn't though then I would prefer to be on the draw at 5/2, as such an influence Bellamy has had on City's play this season.
Another star performer for City recently has been Carlos Tevez. The little Argentine has notched six goals in his last six games in all competitions and is priced at 6/5 to improve that to seven in seven.
Bellamy is 6/4 though and the bigger price is tempting as if he is given a chance to start I think he will take it in style.
Bellamy and Tevez will be crucial to City's chances of doing well at Molineux as fellow strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz are out injured and winger Shaun Wright-Phillips is a doubt.
Therefore the onus will fall on the diminutive duo as well as Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov, who was recalled to the starting line-up for the match against Stoke by Mancini and responded with his fourth goal of the season.
Wolves will be no pushovers though as they have improved of late, with three wins from four matches before their Boxing Day defeat at Anfield. Even against Liverpool though the West Midlanders were far from disgraced and Mick McCarthy may well think had it not been for Stephen Ward's dismissal in the 53rd minute then they might well have sneaked a famous victory.
McCarthy's side will not be without their chances against City's notorious leaky defence and it will be up to Kevin Doyle (11/4 to score) and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (10/3) to take advantage.
However, the superior ability in midfield and up front (Bellamy permitting) should have too much for last year's Championship title winners.
Man City's talent at one end of the pitch and problems at the other makes the over 2.5 goals selection appeal at 10/11.
Come the final whistle Mancini should be smiling again and the board room combination of chief executive Garry Cook and chairman Khalddon al-Mubarak having another feeling of relief following their controversial sacking of Hughes but it could be Hughes' fellow Welshman, Bellamy, who has the greatest smile come Bank Holiday Monday night.