Coupe de la Ligue: Lyon injury worries mount
LYON, January 16 (Coupe de la Ligue) - Lyon have a number of injury worries ahead of Wednesday's Coupe de la Ligue semi-final against Le Mans at the Stade Gerland.
The Ligue 1 leaders continue to have problems up front, with Karim Benzema and Sylvain Wiltord struck down with fresh thigh injury blows that could keep them out for months rather than weeks.
Another striker, John Carew, is back in training but he is currently in negotiations with Werder Bremen and is set to be left out of Les Gones' squad. Fred, who is searching for match sharpness having only just returned from injury himself, will therefore start in attack.
Star midfielder Juninho could miss out as he is struggling with gastroenteritis, while goalkeeper Gregory Coupet is definitely sidelined with a strained muscle.
Holding midfielder Alou Diarra is back in training following his thigh injury and he could start.
Lyon lost 2-0 to Toulouse at the weekend, and Florent Malouda hopes his team will bounce back from what was only their second defeat of the season.
'This Coupe de la Ligue semi-final is a very good opportunity for us,' the left-winger told his club's official website.
'We must make amends after the faux-pas against Toulouse. Wednesday's match falls just at the right time for us.'
Le Mans have won both their games since returning from the winter break, the latest being a 2-0 success at home to Troyes on Saturday.
The Coupe de la Ligue looks to be their best chance of silverware this season, and coach Frederic Hantz will put out his strongest possible team.
Brazilian striker Grafite is missing with an Achilles tendon injury but fellow forward Mamadou Samassa should be available despite picking up a knock against Troyes.
Tulio De Melo and Laurent Bonnart are back in training after returning from their injury problems and are pushing for starts.