City boss Gordon Strachan faces the prospect of going into this weekends crucial
relegation battle at Leicester without nine of his first team players.
Strachan will be definitely be without Roland Nilsson(ribs), Steve Ogrizovic(neck),
Steve Froggatt(hamstring), and suspended duo Noel Whelan and Gary McAllister.
Major doubts also hang over the availability of Paul Telfer who picked up a dead leg at
Everton, Magnus Hedman who damaged stomach muscles in last weeks defeat by
Middlesborough, and Trond Solvedt and Marc Edworthy who were both hurt in training.
The Sky Blues boss admits that the injury crisis has come at the worst possible stage
of the season. He said:
"Its not a good time to happen. I think the maximum we will get fit from
that injury list is two of them, and thats at a push."
The Scot is clearly incensed that his problems have been heightened by Wednesdays
F.A decision to suspend Striker Noel Whelan from Saturdays game for picking up 11
bookings this season.
"Noel is very upset, especially when he knew a lot of people on eleven bookings
were only fined, so hes very disappointed.
"He was in a very unusual situation in that he had to be a hearing with the three
same guys half an hour before, talking about an incident at Chelsea, then go back in again
to deal with the bookings."
The inconsistency of the hearings seemed to be highlighted when Evertons Oliver
Dacourt escaped a ban, despite the fact he has now reached 14 bookings.
"What we should have done was try and get Noel 14 bookings quite quickly and zoom
past the 11 mark and he would have been fine," joked Strachan.
However, the manager has now set his sights on survival and believes the current crisis
will give some of his younger players the opportunity to shine.
"Previously when young lads came into our side they had McAllister, Nilsson,
Ogrizovic and Dion Dublin, so there was always somebody there that could speak to them in
the heat of the battle.
"It may be that the kids or new members of our team will have to take more
responsibility. Paul Williams for instance, who is always helpful on the pitch, will have
to really take responsibility, and really show that hes a father figure and a top
pro in this league."