Manchester City look set to accept Mario Balotelli's four-match ban after the volatile striker was charged for stamping on Scott Parker during Sunday's defeat of Tottenham.
City assistant manager David Platt dropped a strong hint on Tuesday that the club were unlikely to lodge an appeal for Balotelli but stressed a final decision had not yet been taken.
The Premier League leaders have until 1800 GMT on Wednesday to decide whether or not to contest Balotelli's charges following the Italian's clash with Parker during Sunday's 3-2 win at Eastlands.
However Platt acknowledged the video footage of the incident did not "look good" and spoke of the "futility" of some appeals.
"We are likely to be without a player for four games," Platt said ahead of City's crunch League Cup semi-final second leg with Liverpool.
Balotelli will miss Wednesday's League Cup game if City accept the ban but could play if the club choose to appeal.
However any appeal would carry the risk of an increased ban at a crucial point in the season.
Platt suggested City's decision might be influenced by their failure to overturn Vincent Kompany's four-match ban earlier this month after he was controversially sent off against Manchester United in the FA Cup.
"I don't think anybody thought we would win an appeal with Vincent Kompany, even though the majority of people didn't feel he deserved a red card or a four-match ban. It shows the futility of an appeal sometimes," Platt said.
"This looks poor when you slow it down," he added, referring to Balotelli's incident.