Manchester City face defensive crisis

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The Independent Football

Roberto Mancini will speak with Joleon Lescott and Jerome Boateng before deciding whether to risk either man in tomorrow's Barclays Premier League showdown between Manchester City and Chelsea at Eastlands.

Mancini's squad has been decimated by injury and now Micah Richards is definitely ruled out with a hamstring strain, he has only three fully-fit defenders available.

With Pablo Zabaleta earmarked for the right-back role, Mancini only has youngster Dedryck Boyata, plus midfielders Gareth Barry and James Milner available to fill the role if neither Lescott nor Boateng are deemed to be fit enough.

Lescott has been troubled by a groin injury that has kept him out of City's last three games, while Boateng has not featured at all since his summer move from Hamburg after aggravating a knee injury when he was accidentally struck by an in-flight meal trolley.

"Joleon has worked with us for one day. He is not ready to play 90 minutes," said Mancini.

"Jerome has been working with us for one week. He is not ready to play 100%.

"I do not know what I am going to do just yet. I will speak with Joleon and Jerome, but if they are not available I am not sure. Maybe Boyata, but I am not sure."

Emmanuel Adebayor should be fit enough to make the bench after a recent spell on the sidelines with a dead leg.

However, with Shaun Wright-Phillips joining Aleksandar Kolarov and Mario Balotelli on the sidelines with a knee injury, Mancini cannot believe his squad has so rapidly been torn apart.

"I am disappointed we have all these injuries at the moment," he said.

"I only have 11 players who are 100% fit."