Roberto Mancini has ruled out selling any players in January, saying that he cannot allow his squad to become even smaller.
The Manchester City manager revealed that Micah Richards will be out for another two months with his knee injury; Jack Rodwell and Aleksandar Kolarov are also sidelined; while Kolo and Yaya Toure and Abdul Razak have been called up for Ivory Coast’s African Cup of Nations squad. Samir Nasri is also out as he serves a three-match suspension after his sending-off at Norwich.
Joleon Lescott, who has lost his place in the City team this season, is believed to be keen to leave but with fellow centre-back Kolo Toure unavailable for up to six weeks, Mancini will not let him go.
“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 [Ivory Coast] players," Mancini said. "I don’t think Micah will play until end of February. We don’t know when Jack can play. Maybe we can recover Kolarov in two weeks.”
Right-back Richards missed the start of the season and has been out of action since he was stretchered off in October’s 1-0 win over Swansea. He has been limited to four appearances this season and City are without three injuries with Kolarov and Maicon also unavailable for their New Year’s Day clash with Stoke.
“Maicon went to Italy for treatment on his knee and he comes back tomorrow [Tuesday],” Mancini revealed.
Mario Balotelli, who has not played since the Manchester derby defeat on December 9, is recovering from a virus and may make his comeback in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie with Watford.
“Mario is getting better," Mancini added. "He trained yesterday [Sunday]. He could be ready for Watford.”
The Italian boss is also debating whether to appeal against Nasri’s sending-off for an attempted headbutt on Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong and believes his resources could be stretched if the Frenchman is banned.
He added: “Usually they reject an appeal. This could be problem because after this game we lose three players, Yaya, Kolo and Razak and we don’t want to lose another.”