New Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has already suffered his first injury blow with defender Nedum Onuoha ruled out.
Onuoha only made his first start of the season against Tottenham last Wednesday after an injury to England international Joleon Lescott.
Now the 23-year-old has joined Lescott on the sidelines having picked up a calf strain in Saturday's 4-3 win over Sunderland, which proved to be Mark Hughes' last match in charge.
The former England Under-21 international is expected to be out for three to four weeks, therefore ruling him out of Mancini's first game in charge at home to Stoke on Boxing Day.
That leaves the Blues' new Italian boss short of options in central defence as Lescott had already been sidelined until the New Year after undergoing surgery to remove some floating bone from his knee.
"The only problems I have are not who we might buy in January, but that we have too many injuries," said Mancini.
Captain Kolo Toure is still fit and could be partnered in the middle of defence by Vincent Kompany or Micah Richards, with Pablo Zabaleta coming in at right-back.
Richards appears to have shrugged off the ankle problem that forced him off against Sunderland although Shaun Wright-Phillips aggravated his ankle injury against the Black Cats and is doubtful to face Stoke.