Kolo Toure will return from a one-match ban.
Joleon Lescott performed creditably in Toure's absence at Newcastle yesterday but it would be a huge surprise if the Ivorian was not handed an instant recall.
Having blown one chance to reach top spot over Christmas already, City know victory would see them, for a few hours at least, leapfrog neighbours Manchester United, who have an evening kick-off.
Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey is a major doubt.
Heskey twisted an ankle in a collision with Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes in yesterday's 2-1 defeat at Villa Park which forced him off after 39 minutes.
Ashley Young is likely to remain sidelined with a knee injury, similarly Luke Young who has a groin problem.
Man City (from): Hart, Given, Zabaleta, Richards, Boateng, K Toure, Kompany, Boyata, Kolarov, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Johnson, De Jong, Vieira, Milner, Y Toure, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Adebayor, Balotelli, Jo.
Aston Villa (from): Friedel, Lichaj, L Young, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock, Albrighton, Hogg, Bannan, Petrov, Delph, Downing, A Young, Heskey, Agbonlahor, Guzan, Reo-Coker, Delfouneso, Dunne, Pires, Carew.