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Toure's to miss FA Cup tie

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Some bad news ahead of Sunday's derby:

Yaya and Kolo Touré, meanwhile, will be reporting for duty at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast after their coach François Zahoui rejected a request from City to delay their departure.

The City manager, Roberto Mancini, had asked that the pair be allowed to miss a team meeting in Paris on Saturday, and the first part of a two-week training camp in Abu Dhabi that begins on Sunday, due to a shortage of first-team players.

However Zahoui, responding to the request, told the BBC: "Clubs know the rules. I'm expecting them [the Tourés] for the Fifa deadline."

There are longer term ramifications with the pairs absence over the next six weeks (potentially) and whilst Gareth Barry's suspension for the game following his red card against Liverpool is a big blow, the added loss of Yaya Toure creates a huge hole (physically and metaphorically) for the game against United given his consistently high levels of performance of late.

Both have proved to be integral components of the midfield for Mancini (with a good look at the performance this season of Barry and Toure in these articles over at EPL Index) and it will leave Roberto Mancini with a big decision as to how he shapes his side.

Likeliest perhaps will be to bring in Samir Nasri and Nigel de Jong to the side as part of a midfield four (alongside David Silva and James Milner), as despite some suggestions it would be a big stretch to throw Owen Hargreaves into the fray. Other options are potentially Adam Johnson (as part of a five man midfield) or youngster Abdul Razak.