Curbishley content after stalemate

Alan Curbishley was pleased with his side's defensive display from front to back after a keenly contested FA Cup third-round tie against in-form Manchester City.

The 0-0 draw means the sides will reconvene at the City of Manchester Stadium on 16 January, and Curbishley knows his team will have a tricky replay given that both clubs are in it to win it. "Man City gave the competition their respect by playing all their available players," Curbishley said. "It was a tough old game. It never really lifted off. I think the best opportunities fell to us and their keeper made a couple of decent saves - or we could have done better on certain occasions."

Although the two sides fielded strong sides, Curbishley admitted "I don't think we could have rotated anybody anyway". He added: "We have got what we have got at the moment. As I say, it was tough. The way they shape up - they play a certain way and we had to defend very well and I am delighted with what they have done defensively once again and that's the whole team and not just the back players. We just need a little bit more going the other way."

Both sides had penalty shouts during the game. City appealed when left winger Martin Petrov went down under pressure from Anton Ferdinand - "when you have got Petrov running at people in the box, he's dangerous" - while there was a last-gasp handball shout for the home side. "The players are saying they thought it was handball but I think [referee] Rob Styles was the other side of the box," the manager added.

While West Ham United were able to welcome back Matthew Etherington in the starting eleven, and had James Collins and Lee Bowyer back on the bench - the latter getting a late run-out - City were deprived of their Brazilian duo Elano and Giovanni due to a stomach bug. Added to that, Curbishley had a half-time worry over Lucas Neill, with the captain suffering from a "tight hamstring".

"In the position we find ourselves in with the players at the moment, we couldn't take the risk," he said about replacing the skipper with Jonathan Spector, before adding that he expected him to be "all right" before next week's league visit by Fulham which precedes cup and league contests at City in the space of four days. "The replay may give us an opportunity for one or two of our players coming back.

"We have been looking to try and fix a game up that week for one of the two players on their way back but perhaps we won't need to now," he added. "I have got [Julien] Faubert playing Monday night in the reserves. [Luis] Boa Morte and [James] Collins will get a game and some of the players that came on [against City] so hopefully we are starting to get one or two of them back."