International stars back for Bristol City's big game with Blackburn
BRISTOL City boss Derek McInnes is confident his trio of international stars will be available to face Blackburn Rovers in Saturday's eagerly-awaited npower Championship showdown at Ashton Gate.
Ghana winger Albert Adomah, Republic of Ireland left-back Greg Cunningham and Scotland defender Richard Foster, pictured, were all called up for international duty earlier this month, giving rise to fears they could pick up injuries and be ruled out of City's next game.
But Adomah remained at Ashton Gate after being told he was not required for Ghana's African Nations Cup qualifying campaign, while Irishman Cunningham has unexpectedly returned ahead of schedule.
Yellow-carded in the Republic's 2-1 European Under-21 Championship qualifying group defeat to Hungary in Kecskemét last week, Cunningham was suspended for Monday's clash with Italy in Cesarano. Promptly released by his national association, the Irishman resumed training with his City team-mates yesterday.
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McInnes is now keeping his fingers crossed that Foster, called up by Scotland last week, came through last night's World Cup qualifier against Macedonia at Hampden Park unscathed.
City's manager said: "It's good news as far as the international break is concerned. There is always a concern that those players called up by their country could be injured and we are no different to any other club in that respect.
"Although Albert Adomah was initially told he was in the Ghana squad, he was not needed in the end and stayed behind.
"Greg Cunningham picked up a caution and a suspension and that meant he came back to us early. We are now waiting on Richard Foster and he should be back with us on Thursday to prepare for the Blackburn game."
McInnes remains in the loan market for a centre-back. Although his bid to recruit Norwich centre-half Elliott Ward appears to have fallen through, the Scot is still pursuing alternative targets.
McInnes said: "I am still interested in bringing another defender in, but I must stress we are not close on anybody at the moment."
City tried to sign Ward before the transfer window closed last month. Norwich accepted an undisclosed bid and Ward travelled to Bristol for talks on deadline day, but was unable to agree personal terms.
City then tried to sign the 27-year-old on a short-term basis after the opening of the loan window earlier this week. But Ward, not in Norwich's 25-man Premier League squad, is looking beyond a 93-day loan period to a possible permanent transfer in January, and was again unable to agree terms.
Centre-back Andre Amougou, who had a loan spell with City last season, has joined Middlesbrough after being released by Burnley.