Brian Horton believes Roberto Mancini will be keen to add to his Manchester City squad in the January transfer window, with injuries and international call-ups potential threats to the champions' title challenge.
Former City boss Horton told Sky Sports News he is concerned about the club's growing injury list and criticised the mid-season African Cup of Nations, which will see the Toure brothers miss several Premier League games in January - and potentially February - to represent Ivory Coast.
Horton is confident City can overhaul their seven-point deficit to league leaders Manchester United but expects Mancini to look to bring in some much-needed cover in the coming weeks.
"The way City are playing, particularly at home, they've got plenty of time to make up the gap," said Horton, who was in charge of City between 1993 and 1995.
"There's a long way to go but I'm sure Mancini will want to invest in January. You always want to strengthen your side but when you're going to lose key players - through injury or international call ups - I'm sure he'll want to do some business in the window.
"I'd say they need to strengthen the squad defensively and in the midfield."
Sergio Aguero is the latest player to visit the club's treatment room after pulling up with a hamstring strain after scoring the club's third in their 3-0 win over Stoke on New Year's Day and Horton fears the heavy Christmas schedule has taken its toll on the City squad.
"It's a massive blow for City to lose Aguero with a hamstring problem," said Horton. "After he scored the third goal I said they should take him off because of the games over Christmas and New Year but unfortunately he's out now.
"They are saying it will take two weeks to heal but with hamstring strains you never know.
"You can't afford to lose too many players [when you're chasing the league title] but City have got quite a few injury problems to people like Mario Balotelli, Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell and Maicon.
"It's unbelievable they have the African Cup of Nations in mid-season, too," he said. "Top players, such as Kolo and Yaya Toure, have to go to that and that's another massive blow."
Former Manchester United utility man Clayton Blackmore, meanwhile, feels that Robin van Persie's goal-scoring exploits - the Dutchman has already netted 16 Premier League goals since his summer arrival from Arsenal, including two in the New Year's Day mauling of Wigan - will ensure Sir Alex Ferguson's men reclaim the title.
"Ferguson has strengthened the team this year and the players are gelling - and Van Persie has made a great start to the season," said Blackmore, who represented United between 1982 and '94, netting 27 league goals.
"When he gets half-chances he looks like he is going to score every time and you can only see him getting better. Football is a team game but I think he will make the difference in the title race."
Blackmore concluded: "I think Chelsea could end up above Man City this season, because while City have a better squad, Chelsea are looking good and playing well - though I don't think they have another frontman who could fill Fernando Torres' boots if he got injured."