Houghton said that the team management would do "everything possible" to ensure that the Sikkimese Sniper gets to play in the continental football extravaganza.
Bhutia has been carrying a calf muscle injury which has kept him out for long, and there have been doubts over his participation in the tournament."
"What worries me is that our captain is injured and we are anxious to give some playing time. Yesterday our management was informed that Sushil has been suspended for two games for a red card he received in the Challenge Cup.
"We were not aware of that and obviously that is a big blow for us. He will be replaced by Rafi today and will be on our roster tomorrow," informed the Englishman.