Manchester City could turn to teenage defenders Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis to fill in at centre back with two of their senior defenders sidelined with long-term injuries, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
John Stones is out for five weeks due to a muscle injury and Aymeric Laporte is recovering from knee surgery, leaving Nicolas Otamendi as Guardiola's only available first-team centre back.
One of Garcia (18) or Harwood-Bellis (17) could make their Premier League debut if midfielder Fernandinho, who was deployed as a makeshift central defender in Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League win at Shakhtar Donetsk, does not start in the back line.
"We don't have many other options, two young players we trust a lot," Guardiola told reporters ahead of Saturday's game at home to Watford.
"Eric was training last season with us and Harwood-Bellis trained in pre-season and we will count on them. It's not a problem, it's a challenge we have to accept and be positive. We will do it, be happy and work hard."