Man City V Stoke at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview
Man City V Stoke - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Nasri to miss Potters clash
Manchester City will be without forward Samir Nasri for their New Year's Day clash against Stoke at the Etihad Stadium after deciding not to appeal against his sending-off at Norwich.
The France forward was dismissed in the first half of the champions' 4-3 Barclays Premier League win at Carrow Road for an alleged headbutt at Sebastien Bassong.
Manager Roberto Mancini indicated after the game on Saturday that an appeal would be lodged but, after further thought, the club have now announced there will not be a challenge.
With Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure and Abdul Razak now due to depart for African Nations Cup duty with Ivory Coast after the Stoke game - rather than after Saturday's FA Cup tie against Watford as first thought - an appeal was considered too much of a gamble.
Mancini said: "We don't know what can happen if we appeal. Usually they reject an appeal.
"This could be a problem because after this game we lose three players - Yaya, Kolo, Razak and we don't want to lose another."
Striker Mario Balotelli (virus) is not yet ready to return for the Premier League champions while full-backs Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon (knee) also remain on the sidelines.
Defender Micah Richards (knee) and midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) are still long-term casualties and Mancini has admitted he may have to bring in new faces in the January transfer window.
When asked if that was a possibility, the Italian said: "Probably - we can have a problem because we lose three players and we have Micah (Richards), I don't think he can play until the end of February.
"Jack (Rodwell) - we don't know when he can play. Maybe we can recover (Aleksandar) Kolarov in two weeks. We will see this in the next days."
It had been widely assumed Mancini might have to move out players in order to recruit but he insists he has no intention of selling.
He said: "We can't sell players. We don't have enough players to play if we sell players."
Balotelli, fellow forward Edin Dzeko and defenders Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott are among those who have been linked with moves.
Dzeko staked his claim for a regular starting place with the opening two goals at Norwich. The Bosnian claimed a hat-trick but his third 'goal' was recorded as an own goal against goalkeeper Mark Bunn.
Mancini said: "We need to change the rules because there are in our team 23 players that want to start the game. This is impossible.
Mancini knows Stoke, unbeaten in their last 10 games, will be tough opponents to start 2013.
He said: "Not only now - it always is very difficult to beat Stoke because they are strong, they are tall, they fight on every ball.
"Every game with Stoke is difficult."
Kenwyne Jones knows Stoke have their work cut out if they are to keep their unbeaten run going but he is confident one thing that will not be questioned is the Potters' commitment.
Tony Pulis' side are on an unbeaten run of 10 Premier League games, with substitute Cameron Jerome proving to be the hero on Saturday with a stunning 30-yard volley that earned a point against Southampton and kept Stoke in eighth place.
Now they make the short journey up the M6 to the Etihad Stadium to take on the reigning champions, who will hope to close the seven-point gap to leaders Manchester United.
Jones said: "We are doing well. We had a few slip-ups but credit to the team, the manager and the fans for the run we have been on.
"The next game is the most important game for us because we're going to the home of the champions.
"Here at Stoke City we play for 90 minutes. If we get beat, we get beat, but we'll never give up. That comes from pride.
"This is our job. No-one wants to lose so you're not just going to stand there and accept defeat."
History is not on Stoke's side, with the Potters having failed even to score a goal at the Etihad Stadium in the league since promotion to the top flight in 2008, suffering four defeats and conceding 11 goals.
Stoke were unusually vulnerable defensively on Saturday but they have captain Ryan Shawcross and full-back Geoff Cameron available again after serving one-match suspensions.
Midfielder Steven Nzonzi is also free to play after Stoke appealed the red card he was shown in the second half, with a decision on whether he will have to serve a three-match ban likely to come on Wednesday.
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