As Manchester City manager Mark Hughes prepared for the new season with doubts over the fitness of three strikers and goalkeeper Shay Given, he was warned to expect a kicking from Saturday's opponents Blackburn Rovers.
Hughes will definitely be without knee injury victim Roque Santa Cruz and doubts also hang over Carlos Tevez (heel) and Emmanuel Adebayor (groin) as well as keeper Given (groin).
Adebayor returned from international duty with Togo with his problem and it is understood Given will also be checked out thoroughly on Friday before a decision is taken on his fitness.
Hughes said: 'We're checking everyone. We're all in the same boat and some clubs will have more players away than others. We've had 17 or 18 away this week so it's difficult to get any structure to your preparation.'
There will be no sympathy, however, from Blackburn.
Their midfielder David Dunn said: 'We'll have to be very strong and very organised, and the main thing is to be really aggressive against them and knock them about a bit.
'It's important we do our best and kick lumps out of them, fairly of course. That is what the manager will be asking from our lads.
Fingers crossed: City goalkeeper Shay Given is battling to be fit for the clash with Blackburn at Ewood Park
'There's no doubt about their resources but when you cross the white line the money doesn't matter.
'It's how much you want it.'
A City divided: United's new rivals are on the doorstepSpurs, City and Villa will challenge big guns for title, says Chelsea's DrogbaMANCHESTER CITY FC