Pirlo a doubt for Juve v Fiorentina

08 February 2013 05:46

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo is set to miss the visit of Fiorentina on Saturday when the champions bid to extend their lead over Napoli.

Juve coach Antonio Conte said Friday Pirlo had suffered a leg muscle problem on Wednesday and was a doubt for the game.

With worries over striker Sebastian Giovinco and midfielder Claudio Marchisio, as well as players returning from international duty, there were fears Juve could be depleted for Saturday's match.

However Conte, who will be missing from the touchline as he serves the second in a two-game ban, is trying to look on the bright side.

"I've got no concerns over Giovinco, he's shaken off his problem and trained regularly with the team yesterday," the coach told reporters.

"Marchisio has been with the group for a few days and will have his condition assessed."

Chilean Mauricio Isla has flu while Swiss defender Stephan Lichsteiner has a neck problem.

"As far as the returning international players are concerned, Isla has the flu, Lichtsteiner's reported some discomfort in his neck and Pirlo has a leg problem.

"We hope it's just a simple strain, but I'll speak to him (Pirlo) because I don't want to run any risks as far as the future's concerned," added Conte, who is also awaiting the return of Ghanaian midfilder Kwadwo Asamoah from the African Cup of Nations.

"Asamoah still needs to feature in the third place play-off and it would be unthinkable for him to play on Tuesday if he returned the day before.

"However, if he came back on Sunday then we'd have more time to assess the situation.

"As I've already said, it's a period in which we need to grit our teeth. We've had several players missing since the start of January, but we're handling the issue with our heads held high."

Both Giovinco and Marchisio could start from the bench.

Juventus, who signed French striker Nicolas Anelka during the recent transfer window, hold a three-point lead on Napoli with Lazio in third a further six points off the pace.

AC Milan, who trail Juventus by 12 points, sit fourth on the same points as fifth-placed Inter, with Fiorentina in sixth.

Source: AFP