Harry Redknapp insisted Jamie Mackie was absent for QPR’s goalless draw with Manchester City because he has a back injury.
There are doubts about the forward’s future at Loftus Road as Redknapp looks to revamp his squad ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.
But the Rangers boss, who named two goalkeepers – Robert Green and Brian Murphy – among his substitutes, was adamant that Mackie was not fit enough to play.
DJ Campbell, meanwhile, missed the match for family reasons.
And a number of the club’s youngsters featured in an Under-21 game earlier in the day.
“He [Mackie] is injured. He did his back. He collided with the goalkeeper in training. He did his back and couldn’t move,” said Redknapp.
“We had two keepers on the bench because we had no-one else,” he added.
Redknapp praised his players for their battling performance against the champions, who dominated much of the game.
City were denied by a combination of determined Rangers defending and important saves from keeper Julio Cesar.
“It was another solid performance and another clean sheet – another big point for us,” Redknapp declared.
“I’m happy with a point against the champions. We defended well and hit them on the couter-attack a couple of times and had a good chance with Adel Taarabt.
“Everyone did their job and you can’t ask for more – and that’s off the back of the games against Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham. We’re in good form at the moment.
“Cesar’s world class. You only have to look at his record. He’s won everything and is an amazing keeper.”
Ryan Nelsen was given a hero’s send-off by fans – and his team-mates, who formed a guard of honour as he left the pitch – after what is expected to be his final appearance for the club before leaving for Toronto.
Redknapp claimed he is “struggling” to get a centre-back in to replace him but then said: “I’m sure we’ll find someone.”