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By ESPN Staff

Pearce resigned to having reduced budget

Stuart Pearce is resigned to receiving a smaller summer transfer kitty than he believes is required to propel Manchester City back towards the top end of the Premiership.

The Blues boss has already stated his belief that the £21million loss of Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea cost City the chance to push for a UEFA Cup spot this term.

So far, Pearce has been allowed just over a third of the money generated by Wright-Phillips' sale to reinvest in his squad and, despite seeing high earners Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Paul Bosvelt all depart during the past 18 months, the purse strings will continue to be pulled tight.

Pearce said: 'There is money to spend but if you are asking me whether it is multi-millions the answer is 'no'.

'It would be nice to have a shopping list I can point to and say `these players will enhance us, it doesn't matter what the price is, we need them'. Unfortunately, just as it is at most other clubs, that is not the case.

'But screaming and stamping my feet will not make money appear from nowhere. I just have to work to the parameters I have been set.'

The financial situation has not been helped by a six-match losing streak which has seen City slide down to 14th in the table, with worse to come if Pearce's men do not overcome the two sides immediately below them - Aston Villa and Fulham - in their next two games.

At £500,000 a place, any further fall will be costly to a club whose chief executive Alistair Mackintosh has worked manfully to get the debt under control following the excessive spending of the Kevin Keegan era.

But, even if he did have millions to splash out, Pearce knows his dream scenario of having all his transfer business wrapped up within a fortnight of the final game against Blackburn on May 7 will never become reality.

He said: 'In an ideal world, we would like to have everything done within a fortnight of the season finishing.

'I could then go and have a nice, relaxing holiday somewhere in the confidence I have five or six new players coming in and know exactly what squad I have ready for next pre-season.

'I am acutely aware it is not going to happen. It never does and I don't think it ever will.'

Pearce has already made his mind up to release eight players this summer, with reserve-team keeper Geert de Vlieger and defender David Sommeil almost certainly among the unlucky group.

Whether Joey Barton stays or goes is probably more of an issue, with talks over a new contract not due to start again until the summer.

Pearce has flatly rejected suggestions he would be willing to offload Barton to fund a more extensive search for new faces, insisting he wants the former England Under-21 star to stay.

After a month on the sidelines with a knee injury, Barton is expected to return for tomorrow night's trip to Villa Park as City look to end their losing run against a side they have already beaten twice this season.

'We have done reasonably well against Villa and after the run we have been on, it is important we try to get a result,' said Pearce.

'We are lacking slightly in confidence at the moment but anyone else would be the same if they had lost six on the trot.

'Quite often, confidence is the commodity which is lacking.'