The midfielder is being used as cover with Vincent Kompany, Kolo Toure, Micah Richards all unavailable, while Matija Nastasic is only fit enough for a place on the benchJavi Garcia has been moved to centre-back as Manchester City's defensive worries continue heading into Wednesday's Premier League visit to bottom-of-the-table QPR.
Captain Vincent Kompany is expected to be out for at least the next week, while Kolo Toure is on Afcon duty with Ivory Coast and Matija Nastasic iso only fit enough for the bench after suffering an inflamed knee ligament.
Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez start up front together, with Mario Balotelli set to travel to Italy to complete a medical ahead of a proposed move to AC Milan.
For QPR, Ryan Nelsen makes his final appearance before becoming manager of MLS side Toronto FC and Loic Remy returns to the side in two of eight changes to the side which lost 4-2 to MK Dons at the weekend.
Harry Redknapp has also named two goalkeepers among the substitutes, with both Robert Green and Brian Murphy on the bench.
QPR: Cesar; Fabio, Onuoha, Nelsen, Hill; Mbia, Derry; Granero, Taarabt, Traore; Remy.
Subs: Green, Park, Ben Haim, Zamora, Murphy, Faurlin, Bothroyd.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Garcia, Lescott, Clichy; Nasri, Milner, Barry, Silva; Aguero, Tevez.
Subs: Pantilimon, Nastasic, Rekik, Kolarov, Rodwell, Sinclair, Dzeko.