Girard not giving up on title
Montpellier coach Rene Girard is not about to give up the chase as his side look to keep the heat on the Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain with victory at struggling Nancy on Saturday.
Montpellier are unbeaten in all competitions since the turn of the year, and sit only one point behind big-spending PSG, some 10 clear of third-placed Lille.
While second place would be enough to put Montpellier straight into the group stages of the Champions League for the first time, Girard still has his focus on the bigger prize.
"PSG know we will give nothing up,'' Girard said. "Becoming champions was not our objective at the start of the season, but we haven't done everything we have so far for nothing. There are still 33 points left. That's a lot and not very many all at once.
"I was worried we would get eaten up by everything that goes with being at the top of the table, but we have reacted well.''
Girard added: "If we are lucky enough to play Champions League football, then that would be great. We have put in a lot of work.''
Nancy remain just out of the bottom three on goal difference following last weekend's 1-1 draw at fellow relegation battlers Nice.
PSG travel to Caen, one of several sides too close to the drop zone for comfort after they were beaten 3-0 at home by Montpellier last weekend.
Caen midfielder Nicolas Seube will be suspended for the clash at the Stade Michel d'Ornano. PSG have set a new club record for the most number of points earned on the road after collecting 26 points from 13 matches.
Carlo Ancelotti's side soon host Lyon in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France and defender Sylvain Armand insists it is now all about maintaining momentum.
"We will need to fight hard for the win, like every game, home or away. For the moment, we are doing just that,'' Armand said.
"We will be looking for a second straight away win. That would be a very strong sign from us to the rest of the league.''
Saturday's Rhone derby sees fourth-placed St Etienne host Lyon. Striker Alexandre Lacazette was born in Lyon and knows full well the importance of the tie.
The 20-year-old Lyon forward said: "It is a match that lifts the bar for desire and commitment, and it really brings out the love we have for our club. We have to go all-out to beat them.
"People who aren't from Lyon don't really feel the rivalry in their bones like I do, and that's what the fans are there for: to remind them that this is a hugely important match for the club.''
Lacazette said: "We always want to be superior to Les Verts. With some teams, we don't care if they finish above us or below us, but the important thing is always to finish higher than Saint-Etienne. I have only ever lost to them once, and that was in the Under-12s.''
Saturday's other matches see Marseille tackle strugglers Dijon, while Evian travel to Auxerre and Bordeaux host Ajaccio.
Dijon were beaten 2-1 at home by an injury-time goal from leaders PSG last weekend and coach Patrice Carteron called for a response.
He said: "It is at times like these when you mustn't let the heads go down. This is a very difficult league. You have to fight all the time, right to the last day without doubt. We were already prepared for that.''
Lille will be looking to consolidate third place when they host Valenciennes on Sunday.
Lorient host Stade Brest, Toulouse are at Rennes while Nice travel to bottom club Sochaux, who were boosted by last weekend's 3-2 away win over Evian.
Sochaux coach Eric Hely said: "There are still lots of points to play for, nothing has been decided yet.''