City EDS return to action away at Rockliffe to take on Middlesbrough in the Barclays U21 Premier League on Friday afternoon.
Attilio Lombardo’s side are chasing their first league win since August when Middlesbrough visited the Etihad Stadium.
On that day, City comprehensively won 4-0, so will be hoping to repeat the trick when they visit the North East.
The task will be made more difficult by the growing list of absentees due to a combination of loans and injuries.
Denis Suarez and Albert Rusnak are long-term injury issues, while Emyr Huws, Reece Wabara, Jeremy Helan, Ryan McGivern and Omar Elabdellaoui are all out on loan.
This might open the door for young hotshots Marcos Lopes, Devante Cole and Jose Angel Pozo to step up and stake claims for ascent up the age-groups.
All three found the back of the net for Portugal, England and Spain at youth level in the recent international break, so would go into the games full of confidence if called upon.
City EDS v Middlesbrough U21s kicks off at 12pm on Friday – we’ll bring you a report on how Lombardo’s side fared shortly after full-time here on mcfc.co.uk.