Lille beset by midfield injury worries

Brief news from Ligue 1 before this weekend's matches:

Champions Lille have midfield injury woes for their trip to AC Ajaccio on Saturday.

Benoit Pedretti (pictured) was 'very doubtful' with back and hip pains, while Idrissa Gueye had already been ruled out with a hand injury, coach Rudi Garcia said on the club's website.

Lille are third with 28 points from 15 games, five points adrift of leaders Montpellier.

Montpellier are not yet thinking about becoming French champions, but they are at least targeting a top-five finish in the wake of a brilliant start to the season.

"Finishing in the top part [the club's original objective] was something we would have been happy with but we now see that we can do better," coach Rene Girard told sports daily L'Equipe's website on Friday. "A top-five finish would be good."

Montpellier, who lead second-placed Paris Saint-Germain by three points, entertain Lorient on Saturday.

Everything is going to plan for Olympique Marseille despite a mediocre start to the season, according to sports director Jose Anigo.

"We have a deal with the players: get maximum points before the winter break and we'll see, but, for now, everything is going according to plan," Anigo told the club's website.

Marseille, who travel to Caen on Friday, are ninth in the standings, 12 points off the pace, but their confidence is high after they beat arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 last Sunday.

Jonathan Pitroipa needs to perform more regularly if he is to make it at the highest level, his Stade Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti said before their trip to Nice on Saturday.

"He must be more regular, he can score more goals. He is able to do things that only very few players are able to do," Antonetti said of the Burkina Faso striker on the club's website.

Rennes are fourth in the standings, five points off the pace.