Neil Warnock expects to be without Marouane Chamakh until well into the New Year.
The Crystal Palace striker damaged a hamstring during last weekend's game against Stoke and is set to miss the entire Christmas programme.
Warnock has ruled out Chamakh "for a few weeks at least" ahead of Saturday's trip to Manchester City, according to the club's twitter feed.
That means Palace now go into a run of five games in 15 days with Dwight Gayle and Fraizer Campbell as their only fit front-line strikers, but Warnock is confident his players will give a good account of themselves at City.
"It is always difficult to go to the Etihad," he said. "They play some wonderful football, but we have been playing well so we do not go there with any fear.
"But we realise we have got to be on top of our game to come away with anything. We know our goalkeeper and our back four have got to play well and we have got to create chances."
Warnock does have defender Adrian Mariappa back in training after more than a month out, and the manager also said he expects Joel Ward's contract talks to yield a positive conclusion soon.
Ward and Palace have been haggling over an extension to his current deal and, according to Warnock, both sides are optimistic of striking a deal before Christmas.
One man who will not be signing a Selhurst Park deal is Ashley Cole, who was this week linked with a return to England from Roma.
Warnock said: "I do not think there is any chance whatsoever. The facts are that he is not going to leave Italy for a year. He is loving it there. He walks about in the town without getting recognised. The press are not shoving cameras in his face, so he is loving it.
"I was asked the question 'would I like Ashley Cole' and I said: 'Yes, I would love him', but we have already been told that there is no way he is coming back to England."