MANCHESTER City are facing a defensive crisis ahead of the Premier League clash with Sunderland - with captain Vincent Kompany ruled out.
It has left manager Manuel Pellegrini short of defensive options for Wednesday’s match at the Stadium of Light.
City’s influential captain suffered a hamstring problem in the latter stages of the champions’ Barclays Premier League win at Southampton at the weekend.
That means Pellegrini will now have to field a different centre-back pairing as Eliaquim Mangala is suspended after his sending off at St Mary’s.
Right-back Bacary Sagna could therefore be pressed into action in the centre or fringe player Dedryck Boyata could be drafted in alongside Martin Demichelis.
Pellegrini said: “We have Dedryck Boyata, he is working very well, we have also Martin Demichelis, we have Bacary Sagna.
“So we have three options.
“We will see which two of them will play.”
City are still to learn the full extent of Kompany’s problem and are waiting on the results of further assessment.
The champions had to finish the game on Sunday with nine men after Kompany left the field, with midfield talisman Yaya Toure filling in at the back.