Stephen Ireland sidelined for City's Carling Cup showdown with United as hamstring rules him out for a fortnight

Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland will be out of action for two weeks after picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-0 win over Wolves.

The midfielder, who was substituted after 55 minutes at Molineux, was assessed on Tuesday morning and will be out for the next fortnight.

Ireland will miss the FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough on Saturday and the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final with city rivals United on Wednesday.

Stephen Ireland

Blow: Stephen Ireland has been ruled out for a fortnight

City then face Blackburn at home in the Barclays Premier League on Monday, January 11 and Everton away the following Saturday.

Ivan Cordoba

Target: Ivan Cordoba

But manager Roberto Mancini will hope to have Ireland back for the second leg against United at Old Trafford on January 19.

It is a blow to Mancini because while he does have options, notably record
signing Robinho, Ireland has impressed lately, returning to the form which made
him one of the most impressive young players in the country last season.

Instead, the 23-year-old faces a race against time to be fit for the trip to Everton and the decisive return leg against United.

Mancini is facing a shortage of players in other areas as well. With Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor now on Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast and Togo respectively and Joleon Lescott, Nedum Onuoha and Wayne Bridge all sidelined through injury, the Italian has particular problems in defence. 

Little wonder it he is ready to bring in Ivan Cordoba from Inter Milan as a reinforcement, although Mancini has admitted he is meeting some resistance.

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