Cassano to get first Milan start

Antonio Cassano will make his first start for AC Milan against his hometown club Bari in the Italian Cup tomorrow. The striker has made three brief substitute appearances for the Serie A leaders since making a January transfer window move from Sampdoria.

Despite a lack of match fitness, he created three goals in his first two games and would have added a fourth to that had Zlatan Ibrahimovic managed to convert either of two gilt-edged opportunities presented to him by Cassano against Lecce last weekend.

He will play from the off, although coach Massimiliano Allegri has admitted the forward won't be able to last the entire match. "Cassano will play from the first minute, even though he doesn't yet have 90 minutes in his legs," he said.

Cassano will play from the first minute, even though he doesn't yet have 90 minutes in his legs.
Massimiliano Allegri, AC Milan coach

While the choice of Cassano means Ibrahimovic may well be rested, Allegri insists he will be picking his strongest team. "Going forward in the cup is one of our season's objectives and it's not the smallest, therefore I will be fielding my best team," he added. "Because when you get to a final and win it's always great. Now after two draws we need to start winning again."

Milan have stalled a little in the league recently - although they still lead by four points - drawing their last two games and winning only one of the last four. And Allegri says there is no need to start doubting their abilities.

"We're still top and you must look at the positives. We were looking at the positives when we trailed by five points after four matches, so why not be positive now?"