Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti admits he may be on the lookout for a new defender in the January transfer market in light of the recent health concerns surrounding John Terry and Alex.
The Blues' first-choice centre-backs were absent from last weekend's humbling to Sunderland through injury.
Terry has travelled to Italy to see a specialist after struggling all season with a nerve problem, while Alex has postponed surgery on his knee problem in order to play against Birmingham City this weekend.
But Ancelotti has revealed the long-term injuries to his captain and his Brazilian stalwart means he may have to strengthen in the New Year.
When asked if he would move into the transfer market if both players were sidelined for a long spell, Ancelotti replied: "It depends what happens with Alex and in the next few days with John Terry.
"Obviously, if both players are not able to play for a long time, I think we have to think about this. But just in that case.
"There's a muscle on John's leg, the piriformis muscle, and the nerve moves, so he feels pain.
"We have to work on this problem. It's not true that he'll be out 'for a month'. He went to Italy because I recommended him to go. He was the best doctor for the back and I worked with him for years.
"It depends day-by-day with John. He has pain. He will not be involved tomorrow but, maybe, he'll be able to play in the next game. We're not satisfied, but we hope we'll be able to put John in the condition to play.
"I don't remember how many times I was 100% fit when I played. You often have problems."
Ancelotti will also have his new assistant first-team coach Michael Emenalo in tow against City.
He was appointed as a replacement for Ray Wilkins, who was released last week, but Ancelotti maintains his role will not differ too much from his current one.
The Italian coach also insists he is happy with the club's appointment.
"The club made this decision after the decision on Ray," said Ancelotti. "But nothing has changed, for me. Emenalo has been working with me before.
"He started when I came here last year. He was the opposition scout and was supporting with me. He's not been involved in the training, and won't be, because Paul Clement has been and will remain doing that.
"It was not my decision, but he will continue to work with me. I'm not here to explain how I feel at this moment. I'm professional. I will continue to work.
"I want to stay focused on my team. Emenalo was a fantastic support last season for the opposition scouting. He was involved in our meetings and will be again in the future.
"He will support us as the head of opposition scout. He will stay close with me in the tactical situations. It was the same work that he did for the last 18 months."
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