Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admits that injuries mean he will have to make changes to his defensive line-up for Saturday’s FA Cup third-round trip to Norwich.
Eliaquim Mangala suffered a hamstring injury in City’s defeat at Everton in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
The full extent of the Frenchman’s problem is still not clear but he joins influential captain Vincent Kompany on the sidelines, leaving Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi as City’s only fit centre-backs.
With potentially eight games in the next four weeks – if they make progress in the FA Cup – manager Manuel Pellegrini could find his resources stretched and other players, such as right-back Bacary Sagna, may need to play centrally.
Pellegrini said: “We will see tomorrow the 11 starters but Bacary is an option to play as a centre-back. He has done it before and he likes to play in that position.
“He is an important option, especially now that Pablo Zabaleta has recovered from his injury and will start playing.”
Signing cover during the January transfer window is an option but Pellegrini says that is unlikely.
The Chilean said: “For the moment, we continue with the same squad. I trust a lot in them and in the first four months of the season we could do it, so I think we can finish that way also.”
Pellegrini will also resist the temptation to rush Kompany back. The Belgian suffered a recurrence of a calf injury on his return to action after a lay-off against Sunderland on Boxing Day and continues to receive treatment.
Pellegrini said: “Vincent is progressing the same way a muscle injury must progress, with time, but you cannot try to hurry him up because he needs the days to have a good calf.”