Roberto Mancini has ruled Joleon Lescott out of the Blues midweek crunch match with Everton.
But the City chief has refused to dismiss the other Merseyside top flight club, Liverpool, from the race for fourth spot and the Champions League place that goes with it.
Lescott looks set to miss a highly-charged with reunion with his old teammates after injuring himself before the 2-1 win at Fulham.
The England man, who is hoping to nail down a slot in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad this summer, has been chosen as left back in a much-changed side at Craven Cottage when he tweaked his hamstring in the warm up.
He was replaced by Spaniard Javier Garrido with Micah Richards, initially a spectator, called on to the bench.
Mancini admitted after wards that the injury had been disruptive and gave Lescott little chance of recovering in time to play in the re-arranged midweek fixture.
“Joleon had a problem during the warm up with his hamstring,” revealed the manager. “For him Wednesday will be impossible. But Garrido did well as did the rest of the boys.
“We deserved to win the game but in the end we had to hold on a little. We prepared all week to attack Fulham with pace because I thought they would be tired after the win over Juventus and the players carried out the tactics perfectly; we began with great tempo.
The only disappointing aspect of the opening 75 minutes before Fulham scored was that we didn’t take enough of our chances
Still the victory moved City up to fifth in the table and the manager is well aware that they can take fourth from Tottenham by beating Everton at CoMs on Wednesday night, a game that should have been played in the first week of the season but was postponed because of the Goodison side’s participation in Europe.
City are hot favourites to land fourth spot with the bookies, a position that strengthened when Villa were held at home by Wolves and Liverpool lost for the 10th time this season when succumbing 2-1 at Old Trafford after taking the lead.
“I hope that loss would eliminate Liverpool but I don’t think that it will,” smiled Mancini.
“They are a fantastic team with a very good manager and they will fight all the way until, the end of the season.”