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Football | Barclays Premier League

Kompany set to return for City



Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany admits he wants to follow up his Premier League title triumph by helping Belgium qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Kompany is set to return to the City defence for Saturday's trip to West Bromwich Albion after missing the 3-0 home win over Sunderland with a calf injury.

The 26-year-old centre-back proved his fitness by scoring in a 2-0 win for Belgium against Scotland on Tuesday.

That result has left Belgium top of their World Cup qualifying group, level on points with Croatia but six clear of third-placed Serbia, as they bid to reach the finals in Brazil.

And Kompany, such an instrumental figure as City ended their 44-year wait to win the title last season, is determined to ensure Belgium are able to join the party in Brazil in two years.

"I live for this team (Belgium)," he said. "I won the title with Manchester City, but going to the World Cup is one of the main objectives of my career, a priority."

The trip to the Hawthorns represents the start of a tough few days for City manager Roberto Mancini and his reigning champions.

Despite winning their last two top-flight matches against Fulham and Sunderland, City, who announced on Thursday that their 20-year-old Swedish striker John Guidetti has signed a new three-year contract, have yet to hit top form this season and face a battle to stay in the Champions League next week.

After losing to Real Madrid and drawing against Borussia Dortmund, Mancini's expensively-assembled side head for Amsterdam knowing defeat to Ajax on Wednesday could all but kill off their chances of reaching the knockout stages, so a victory at the Hawthorns would be the ideal start to a crucial period.

Standing in the way of City's hopes will be West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster, who has followed the lead of Wayne Rooney by hailing opposite number Joe Hart as the one of the world's leading goalkeepers.

Manchester United and England striker Rooney this month described City's Hart as the "best keeper in the world" and Foster admits it is hard to disagree.

"He is without a doubt one of the best keepers in the world," said Foster. "I've had a chance to see him in training for England.

"He's got everything you want from a top goalkeeper. He's got the physical attributes but you also need to be very mentally strong too -that's such a strong part of his game.

"He tries to make every save possible. The fact he's keeping a team like Manchester City in games is amazing."

The sixth-placed Baggies, who begin the weekend just a point adrift of City, will defend one of only two remaining perfect Premier League home records – Chelsea have the other – and Foster insists that is a statistic they can maintain come Saturday.

"You need a little bit of luck on your side, as you do against all the top teams really," Foster said.

"The fact we had such a good start suggests that we might get something from Manchester City because our home form has been very good so far."

Romelu Lukaku (ankle) is expected to be fit, while Steven Reid, Chris Brunt (both hamstring) and Billy Jones (knee) are all doubts.

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