Italy number one goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will be back in the Juventus starting line-up for his first league match since the end of last season against Bari tomorrow, with Marco Storari, who has played well this campaign, having to step aside.
Buffon made his competitive comeback from a herniated disc in his back, suffered during June's 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, in the midweek cup match against Catania.
"I can confirm that Buffon will play against Bari, he's recovered and he's ready to play," said coach Luigi Delneri. "Form is rediscovered by playing, on Thursday he seemed to be dusting himself off, I'm sure he'll do his job.
"He's recovered well, quicker than expected, he wouldn't have played against Catania if he wasn't ready. He gave us enough guarantees. I've spoken to Storari, of course when someone's not playing he's not in seventh heaven. But he knows I have faith in him and respect him, we talk every day.
"It's a difficult choice. Marco always played well but we need to plump for experience and the world standing of Buffon," he added."There's no problem between them, they're on the same wavelength, we need both of them."
Delneri also refused to be drawn on transfer speculation despite having previously admitted Juve will buy a striker in the January window. "If we trust the newspapers then we've signed 77 forwards. The club knows what it needs to do, it's an unfortunate period for us," he said.
Juve lost Fabio Quagliarella for the season last month while Vincenzo Iaquinta is also out injured, new-signing Luca Toni picked up a sprain in midweek and both Alessandro Del Piero and Amauri have been struggling with problems. "Our squad is competitive when everyone's fit, more than needing new signings we need to get our injured players back," said Delneri.
Juve also need to rebound from their last two league matches in which they lost twice and conceded seven goals in the process. "Despite the two defeats, in six days you can't change the good things that have been done in six months," insisted Delneri.
"We have the quality to get more points in the second half of the season than we did in the first. We'll try to get back on track, we haven't changed a tyre, we've merely had some difficulties." Juve sit sixth in Serie A, nine points off the top. They were also knocked out of Europe in December.