AC Milan suffered a further injury blow today as Alessandro Nesta broke down in training, making him a doubt for their trip to Cagliari on Thursday. Milan are already without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic and injured Andrea Pirlo, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Gianluca Zambrotta and Matthieu Flamini.
"Nesta felt an old injury and it's difficult to see him playing tomorrow," said coach Massimiliano Allegri. "We'll take a look at his condition tomorrow but it's difficult to see him recovering in time."
Despite these absences, in particular that of Ibrahimovic, new forward signing Antonio Cassano is likely to start on the bench. The former Real Madrid, Roma and Sampdoria star has not played since October when he was frozen out at Samp after allegedly insulting club president Riccardo Garrone.
"Antonio is 70 per cent sure to start on the bench but there's still a 30 per cent chance that he could start," said Allegri, who hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing the Italy forward alongside Brazilian strikers Robinho and Pato.
"There's two possibilities: one is to play (Clarence) Seedorf in midfield with Robinho behind Cassano and Pato. The other is to have (Sierra Leone international Rodney) Strasser in the middle and Seedorf behind Pato and Robinho.
"Cassano has worked hard but it's not easy to rediscover your form after two months without playing or training. It would be hard for him to play 90 minutes no matter how much he wants to."
Allegri also offered a word of warning to his errant star. "It's the last chance for Cassano's career and he can't afford to mess up," he added. "Now it's his desire which counts and he's showing he has that."
Cassano will not be the last of Milan's January signings according to Allegri, although he said they have missed out on Chievo's Guinea midfielder Kevin Constant. "For now we're top and I believe we'll stay there but a midfielder will arrive," said Allegri. "Constant was one of the possibilities but he won't come due to bureaucratic reasons."