Injuries pose a threat as Juventus tackle Udinese

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 3:22am


Juventus' lead at the top could come under threat today when they are expected to be without three key midfielders, including Andrea Pirlo, at home to in-form Udinese.

The champions, on 45 points, have a three-point lead over Napoli, who moved back into second place in unexpected fashion on Thursday, when the Italian federation overturned a two-point deduction for suspected match-fixing.

Lazio dropped to third, equal on points, while Inter Milan are fourth on 38.

However, Juve's hopes of keeping the chasing pack at bay could be dealt a blow even before Udinese, whose striker Antonio Di Natale has recently taken his league tally to an impressive 14 goals, visit Turin.

Italy international Pirlo (calf) and Chilean winger Arturo Vidal (ankle) added to coach Antonio Conte's woes when they missed training on Thursday.

Claudio Marchisio, who missed last week's 1-1 draw at Parma because of a knee injury, also remains doubtful as he continues to work his way back to match fitness.

Juventus did not confirm whether any of the trio would be available, stating simply: "The players' conditions will continue to be monitored over the coming days."

However, reports suggest neither player will be fit in time. Should Juve lose, Napoli and Lazio could pull level on points if they win.

Vladimir Petkovic's Lazio are unbeaten in their past 13 games and travel to Palermo, who sit second from bottom on only 15 points, possibly missing top striker Miroslav Klose.

The German is reportedly suffering from a left thigh problem, leading to media speculation he could be spared the trip with a view to possibly recovering for next week's Italian Cup semi-final first leg against Juventus.

Napoli, however, face a tricky away trip to Fiorentina, who have failed to win their past three games including a 1-0 defeat to Roma in the Italian Cup quarter-final in midweek.

Vincenzo Montella's side, who sit fifth, 10 points off the pace, should be fighting to get back to winning ways but Napoli have won their past three outings including last week's 3-0 rout of Palermo when striker Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick.

AC Milan are at home to Bologna, hoping to leapfrog Roma into sixth.