An injury pile-up at Manchester City means manager Manuel Pellegrini will name an inexperienced side against Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
City travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday without a number of first-team regulars: defenders Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala are out, as are regular midfielders Kevin De Bruyne, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas.
Pellegrini can ill afford any more high profile absentees as City aim to get into their first Champions League quarter-final while they also play for Capital One Cup honours a week on Sunday.
“Unfortunately for us, in this moment we have just 13 players available to play,” said Pellegrini in the pre-match press conference.
“Young players have the option and they must take their chance. We normally have some young players in the cup – one or two maximum.
“I hope with the team we play against Chelsea, we hope they make the performance that we know they can.”
One encouragement for City however is the fully-fit Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored a hat-trick in the fourth round of the competition to see the Blues to a comfortable victory over Aston Villa.
The emergence of the youngster, who is likely to start on Sunday, has been a rare positive in a season which has seen the regular first-team squad ravaged by injuries as City continue their pursuit of four trophies.
“We have the Champions League on Wednesday, so we will see which will be the best team for the FA Cup on Saturday.
“Always our priority is our next game, but we are going to make an exception now. After that we must try to play a good game in the 180 minutes of the Champions League.”
The striking options available to the Chilean coach have also been limited due to the absence of Wilfried Bony, who continues to be plagued by a recurring ankle problem.
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