Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has admitted he has little chance of having money to spend in the transfer window.
Redknapp is now facing a critical examination of his team's flying start to the season, but will struggle to strengthen his squad with signings when he is hit with key absentees in the next few weeks.
First come clashes at Liverpool on Saturday and then Arsenal at home on Boxing Day.
Then early in the New Year, Redknapp loses Sulley Muntari, Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka and Papa Bouba Diop to the African Nations Cup for up to six matches.
Redknapp, who has spent upwards of £30 million on new signings this season, claims he will be down to 14 outfield players capable of performing in the Premier League.
He has been full of praise for the financial backing from Franco-Russian owner Sacha Gaydamak after massively revamping his team this season but with a new training ground and new stadium plans in the pipeline, Redknapp admitted: 'I don't expect expect to have money to spend in the January transfer window.
'I'm going to have to depend on loan-signings but at this time of the season who is prepared to loan you good players ?
'We've got just two kids out on loan ourselves at the moment - Franck Songo'o, who can't get in Crystal Palace's team, and Marc Wilson at Luton. We might be down to 13 when the African boys go away. There's nobody else.'
Pompey's squad was further hit by a hamstring injury to defender Noe Pamarot in the weekend's defeat to Spurs. He could be out for several weeks.
Redknapp added: 'It doesn't look good. We'll need all we can get next month. It is going to be very tough.'
The setback against Spurs, which ended an unbeaten 11-match record, dropped Pompey to seventh in the Premier League when a win would have put them in the top four.
It was their first home league defeat since Chelsea last March and the fourth successive home game in which they have failed to score.
They have had six successive away wins but Anfield will be a major test and reports from Merseyside suggest Liverpool might make a bid for Pompey's record £7.2 million signing Muntari.
'That's absolute nonsense,' Redknapp told the Portsmouth News, but Liverpool will need an extra midfielder star if their bid to sign Argentinian Javier Mascherano on a permanent basis is not ratified.
And if under-employed England striker Peter Crouch were to be made any part of a deal Redknapp could well be interested having already signed and sold him twice.