Zabaleta set to miss Liverpool clash
Aguero faces two months out
Pablo Zabaleta is likely to miss Manchester City's Boxing Day clash with Liverpool, while manager Manuel Pellegrini is considering four candidates to fill in as a makeshift right-back against Fulham on Saturday.
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Argentina international Zabaleta and Micah Richards, the two specialist right-backs in Pellegrini's squad, have both sustained hamstring injuries.
But while Richards is expected to be out for a month, the City manager is optimistic that Zabaleta will only be sidelined for a week or two.
He is debating whether to use one of his left-backs, Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov, centre-back Dedryck Boyata or midfielder James Milner on the right of the back four at Craven Cottage.
"We don't have a right-back so will see who will play there," he said. "We can play Clichy, we can play Kolarov, we can play Boyata or Milner, so we will see who is the best option."
Boyata, who has not played in the Premier League for City since May 2011, came on for Zabaleta when the Player of the Year went off injured in Tuesday’s 3-1 Capital One Cup win at Leicester.
Pellegrini was relieved to discover that Zabaleta should not be missing for too long although, with City facing Crystal Palace on Dec. 28 and Swansea on New Year’s Day, he may be a doubt for further fixtures.
The manager added: "It is not so big. Maybe Pablo will be back next week, but the doctor has trust he will come back soon. Maybe one week more."
City will be without five players when they face relegation-threatened Fulham -- Richards, Zabaleta, Matija Nastasic, Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic -- Pellegrini confirmed.
Striker Jovetic, who has only started three games for City since his summer move from Fiorentina, was a late withdrawal from the Leicester game, when he was supposed to be a substitute, with a stomach problem and he has still not recovered.
Pellegrini said: "It is very frustrating for the player and very hard for him. He has very bad luck -- I hope in the next year he will be very useful because he is a very good player."
Aguero sustained a calf injury in Saturday's 6-3 win over Arsenal and Pellegrini, who had originally ruled him out for a month, said on Tuesday that his top scorer could be sidelined for up to eight weeks.
But he stressed he was optimistic that he would return sooner, saying: "That injury [is] normally from four to eight weeks. It can be eight, it can be four. We will see. He is improving every day. I am confident he will come back as soon as he can."