Milan AC coach Carlo Ancelotti may omit striker Andriy Shevchenko for the visit of Roda JC.
Milan AC coach Carlo Ancelotti will be tempted to omit striker Andriy Shevchenko when the Italian club receive Roda JC at the San Siro for the second leg of their UEFA Cup fourth-round tie. They already hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg and have their big local derby against Internazionale FC coming up on Sunday.
The Ukrainian striker has been off colour in recent weeks and Ancelotti may be feel he can afford to rest him, with his two Spanish forwards Javier Moreno and José Mari Romero in such good form. José Mari's fifth goal of the season - all of them scored away from home - allowed Milan to breathe a huge sigh of relief last week when they ended a run of seven games without a win against the Dutch club. They followed that up with a 4-1 victory against bottom-of-the-table AC Venezia last Sunday, when Moreno weighed in with two goals.
Rui Costa returns
Manuel Rui Costa, who has also struggled with his form since arriving at the club from AC Fiorentina, could return to the side in place of Andrea Pirlo. Ancelotti was pleased with the Portuguese playmaker's effort last week before his lack of fitness told.
Star names out
Those who will definitely not be playing against the Dutch side are Filippo Inzaghi, captain Paolo Maldini, midfield player Massimo Ambrosini and Danish defenders Martin Laursen and Thomas Helveg, all ruled out by injury. As well as that there are two doubtful starters in the midfield, Demetrio Albertini and the Brazilian Serghino, who are likely to be held back for the derby. In their place, Cristian Brocchi and Massimo Donati may be given rare first-team outings alongside Gennaro Gattuso.
All things considered, Roda are not completely without a chance. They had a morale-boosting win at the weekend when they beat Willem II 2-0. By all accounts, it was not one for the purists, but since they finished the game with ten men, Roda were just grateful for the points. Bernard Tchoutang got them off to good start with a goal after four minutes before Gregor van Dijk was sent off after half an hour for a second bookable offence. A second goal by Garba Lawal made the win safe.
Despite the proximity of the derby, Milan insist they are focusing on the game with Roda. As Gattuso put it: "I'm thinking about Roda and then I'll think about the derby with Inter. After all, in that Roda side there are four or five players who are real monsters, seven feet tall. Just because we have a goal lead from the first leg doesn't mean we can take it lightly."