Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes injuries will not hurt his team's playing style. Goalkeeper Joe Hart could make his return from injury against Stoke City, but the squad will still be without seven players when the Premier League leaders visit the Britannia Stadium on 5 December.

City's top scorer, Sergio Aguero, is likely to miss the match with a foot injury, but Pellegrini is hopeful the striker will be fit to face Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League on 8 December.

Influential midfielder Yaya Toure has joined the club's lengthy casualty list, alongside Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri and Patrick Roberts, while defender Eliaquim Mangala is suspended.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Pellegrini said, "I always say that this team, we don't depend on just one or two players. We have an average of six players injured each game this season and without some important players we are at the top of the table and we qualify in both cup competitions."

City are through to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, where they will face Everton, but Pellegrini said either of the other two semi-finalists, Liverpool and Stoke, would be as tough.

"Well for me it's the same: when you are in a semi-final you are going to play against an important team. I think that Everton's a very strong rival, but Stoke or Liverpool would also be, so it's important I think to try to win that semi-final and play the final in Wembley."

Pellegrini also spoke of the importance of being near or at the top of the Premier League in December and January. "Well I think that December and January are very critical games for the Premier League. It's important to be near – if you can be at the top of the table it is better - but at least be near the top of the table, because after that you start again with Champions League and with demanding games during the mid-week. So you have to play so many games during December and during January, especially when you continue in the Capital One Cup; you also re-start the FA Cup. So it's very important to try to be as near the top of the table as you can," said the Chilean.