Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has claimed that a shortage of players at his disposal could force him to delve into the transfer market during January.
The Africa Cup of Nations leaves the Italian with a number of absentees for the majority of the month, with Yaya Toure, his brother Kolo and youngster Abdul Razak are all on duty for the Ivory Coast.
Mancini also has a number of injury concerns to deal with, with Micah Richards not expected to recover from a knee problem until the end of Februaury, while summer signing Jack Rodwell is also a casualty.
When asked if he would need to strengthen his squad in January, Mancini told reporters: "Probably. We can't sell players. We don't have enough players to play if we sell players.
"We can have a problem because we lose three players and we have Micah Richards, I don't think he play until the end of February. Jack Rodwell - we don't know when he can play. Maybe we can recover Aleksandar Kolarov in two weeks. We will see this in next days."
Mancini is expected to name an unchanged side for the visit of Stoke on New Years Day, with the Blues preparing an appeal for Samir Nasri’s red card received at Norwich on Saturday.
That means Edin Dzeko, who found out he was starting against Norwich only hours before kickoff, is likely to lead the front line again alongside Sergio Aguero against Tony Pulis’ side.
"If he scores two goals every game we don't have a problem," Mancini added, when asked about Dzeko. "I am happy for Edin because I think he deserves to score. He scored two goals but he did also a good performance. I hope he can continue to score and play well."
Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
- Sports & Recreation
- Jack Rodwell
- Micah Richards
- Yaya Toure