RC Lens out to cut Lyon's lead as top two meet
PARIS, Dec 14 (Reuters) - RC Lens will have a chance to cut the gap with Olympique Lyon when they take on the runaway leaders in the showcase match in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
Second-placed Lens, who trail five-times champions Lyon by 14 points, have not lost in their last nine league outings and have only conceded two goals in nine home games.
Lyon, however, have netted 19 times away from the Stade Gerland, more than any other team on their travels.
Coach Gerard Houllier should be able to count on first choice strikers Fred and Karim Benzema after the pair, who were not due back before the New Year, trained normally on Wednesday.
John Carew, who sustained a groin injury before Lyon's 3-1 win over Paris St Germain last weekend, is doubtful along with France winger Sylvain Wiltord, who picked up a thigh injury.
Lens coach Francis Gillot welcomes back Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane, who has scored seven goals since this season.
In Saturday's early kickoff, Nancy, seventh on 26 points, will aim to get back among the contenders for second place when they host Olympique Marseille, who are sixth with 27 points.
Marseille will be able to again call on France striker Djibril Cisse, who set up the winner in last weekend's 2-1 victory over Monaco on his return from a lengthy injury lay-off.
Third-placed Lille could provisionally leapfrog arch-rivals Lens when they travel to bottom club Sedan on Saturday.
Sochaux, who are fourth and level on 30 points with Lille, will have the same opportunity as they play Monaco away.
St Etienne will also have an eye on breaking into the top three when they entertain promoted Valenciennes, who have only once avoided defeat away from their Stade Nungesser.