Roma coach Claudio Ranieri has praised the work ethic of captain Francesco Totti, after surprisingly naming the playmaker in his squad to face Palermo despite reports he requires knee surgery.
Injuries have restricted 33-year-old Totti to just 14 Serie A appearances this season and he played just one game in January, though Roma have done well in his absence, and will be aiming to extend their 19-match unbeaten run on Saturday.
Despite widespread reports that Totti needs surgery on his troublesome knee, Ranieri has been impressed enough by his performances in training to include him in the squad for the clash with Palermo at the Stadio Olimpico.
"I will manage Francesco in whatever way I can and I intend to talk to him again this evening," Ranieri said. "He feels good but the problem is that he always wants to play. These are the players who are most at risk. You have to be careful with them.
"Others know how to tell you precisely if they can or cannot play. Instead Francesco as a good captain always puts his heart forward. I will decide if he will be in a position to play."
Ranieri then turned his attention to Palermo who are in contention for the Champions League places.
"Excluding the game Palermo lost against Bari, they are unbeaten since November. The Rosanero are healthy and they have a determined and practical team.
"Palermo have players of Miccoli and Cavani's calibre, and a talent like Pastore. Then there is Delio Rossi, a navigator who knows Rome like his own pockets."
Ranieri's side are currently second in Serie A, nine points behind League leaders Inter.