Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is a major doubt for the home game against Reading tomorrow, compounding a string of bad injury bulletins from the club heading into the crucial Christmas period.
The Belgian defender saw a specialist last week about the hamstring injury he sustained in the dramatic Manchester derby defeat two weeks ago, and his likely absence coincides with the news that Jack Rodwell will be out until the new year with the hamstring injury which has sidelined him since October.
Rodwell's setback is a blow, as the 21-year-old £12m summer signing from Everton has endured an injury-ravaged start to his City career, making just six appearances for the club.
He had returned to training recently for the reigning champions but is likely to be kept out a little longer. Roberto Mancini suggested last week that Rodwell's injury is a historic one.
"We need to work hard with Jack because he is a good player and a good man," the City manager said. "He deserves to start to play without a problem. Now we will see because he has a problem from the past."
Mancini, who hopes to have midfielder James Milner available for the clash with Reading, has been told that City – who recorded £97.7m losses in the last financial year – will only spend in a medical emergency, and the Italian may consider Rodwell's absence to justify that.
"I don't know. Now we will see what happens and if we can (spend)," he said. "We have a problem with Jack – he is injured again."
Rodwell, who has won two caps for England, said: "I'm doing quite a lot of training at the minute, so I'm keeping busy."