FA hand Man City's Sommeil three match ban
Manchester City will now be without two senior defenders for Saturday's derby clash with United after David Sommeil was banned for three games by the Football Association.
Although they decided to contest the violent conduct charge brought against Sommeil for his studs-first challenge on Lee Young-Pyo during last week's Barclays Premiership defeat to Tottenham, Blues officials feared the French full-back would be found guilty, a decision confirmed by Soho Square this lunchtime.
It means Sommeil will join Ben Thatcher on the sidelines for the weekend visit of Sir Alex Ferguson's men to Eastlands after the former Welsh international received his fifth booking of the season in the same Tottenham game.
Lee told Spurs boss Martin Jol Sommeil's tackle was the worst he had ever been on the end of but City manager Stuart Pearce claimed the former Bordeaux player was merely trying to protect himself from Lee kicking the ball at him.
The FA sided with Lee's version of the incident, so Sommeil will miss not only the United clash but also the following week's visit to Bolton and an FA Cup fourth round tie with either Wigan or Leeds on either January 27 or 28.
With Nedum Onuoha performing poorly against Scunthorpe at the weekend, it means Sun Jihai will almost certainly be handed City's right-back role against the Red Devils, depleting a midfield which already lacks broken ankle Claudio Reyna.
The Blues squad's lack of depth emphasises why Pearce is intent on bringing in more new faces during the transfer window in addition to the loan arrival of Albert Riera from Espanyol and why the City manager insists he has no intention of letting Kiki Musampa or Bradley Wright-Phillips leave Eastlands this month.
Musampa has been a notable absentee from the Blues squad over the past few weeks, with his chances of a recall hit by Riera's arrival, while Andy Cole has urged Wright-Phillips to move away from City on loan to further his footballing education.
But the earliest Musampa will be allowed to leave Eastlands will be in the summer when his season-long loan from Atletico Madrid expires, and even then the Dutchman's departure is not a foregone conclusion.
'Kiki is still an important part of the squad and he will be with us until the summer at least,' said Pearce.
'He missed a couple of games through team selection but then he picked up an ankle injury playing for the reserves, so his most recent absence has been down to that.
'I know we have signed Albert Riera now but I want a situation where players are vying for places in the team.
'To have just one player for each position is not good enough for a club of this size.
'The good thing about Kiki is he can play in a more central position, which is where he was when he got injured. He still has a future here that's for sure.'
The long-term future of Wright-Phillips at City has never been an issue but Pearce does agree with Cole's opinion that a short spell at a Championship outfit could benefit the 20-year-old half-brother of departed England international Shaun.
Pearce's obvious problem is Wright-Phillips has been used as the chief back-up to Cole and Darius Vassell this term.
While Robbie Fowler was making only his third appearance of the campaign when he scored a hat-trick in Saturday's FA Cup win over Scunthorpe, Wright-Phillips has turned out 13 times, all as a substitute.
'We are aware Bradley needs some first-team experience and in an ideal world it would be nice for him to go out on loan,' said Pearce.
'But the problem is he is very close to being in the first-team, probably too close to consider loaning him out.'