Manchester City will consider signing an alternative left-back in the summer despite Benjamin Mendy's imminent return from injury, manager Pep Guardiola has said.
France international Mendy, signed from Monaco for £49.1million in 2017, has missed large spells of both seasons he has been at the club with knee problems.
Last term the Premier League champions coped well as midfielder Fabian Delph adapted to the position but this term it has been more problematic. Delph has had his own fitness problems while Oleksandr Zinchenko, another option, is also a converted midfielder.
The problem may soon be resolved as Mendy nears a return from a second operation in two years - but more back-up may be required.
Guardiola said: "We survived well last season, this season too, but we are thinking about that.
"I cannot assure you - as I'm delighted with the players I have - but at the end of the season we are going to decide. We are going to look at both options on the table.
"He (Mendy) trains incredibly well, but sometimes it (injury) happens. Hopefully this will be the last time."
Mendy, 24, appears to be scheduled to return to action by the end of January.
Speaking at a press conference to preview Sunday's trip to Huddersfield, Guardiola said: "He is closer but not this weekend.
"He has had his third or fourth training session with the team. It is going well. Now it's time to get his best condition."
Sunday's game is followed by the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Burton on Wednesday.
With City leading 9-0 from the first leg, City had planned to field a youthful team at the Pirelli Stadium.
That was complicated this week when it was announced that City's Under-21s would have to play their Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final at Sunderland on Tuesday, but Guardiola still intends to field some youngsters.
He said: "Some young players are going to play with us. The first team is most important team, after that the second and third team.
"The first team asks or demands something - the club is always ready to provide what we need.
"Of course we'll use a few players from the second team for the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, but I don't know how many as most of the players need rest and they cannot play both."
Guardiola was speaking on his 48th birthday but has no plans to celebrate beyond a family dinner.
"I don't have friends," he joked.