PARIS - Andre-Pierre Gignac's goals have kept Toulouse in the Ligue 1 title hunt and the south-western side should extend their nine-game unbeaten streak when they host strugglers Valenciennes on Saturday.
Gignac is Ligue 1's top scorer with 15 goals from 24 games and Toulouse, in fourth place on 44 points -- five behind Olympique Lyon, are determined to keep pace with the leaders.
"Let's be ambitious and look above us," Toulouse coach Alain Casanova told reporters after his team earned their fourth win in their last five games last weekend at Sochaux, where Gignac once again scored the winner.
Rugby-mad Toulouse had a first taste of the Champions League at the beginning of last season when they were knocked out by Liverpool in the third qualifying round. Gignac played in both legs but failed to make any impact, just as he did during a difficult first year at Toulouse.
The powerful French forward only scored twice in Ligue 1 last season, when he was overshadowed by Swede Johan Elmander. He spent most of his time on the bench as Toulouse struggled to escape relegation until the last day under former coach Elie Baup.
"Last year, I was not myself. I was another guy. A scorer needs confidence and I need to feel the affection from the coach and the other players. I had a very difficult last season," said Gignac.
With Elmander gone to Bolton Wanderers and Baup sacked at the end of last season, Gignac's good form could now earn international recognition with France coach Raymond Domenech hinting he could call him up soon.
"We keep an eye on what he has been doing and if he goes on like this, something could happen for him," Domenech told reporters earlier this month.
Lyon visit Nancy on Saturday while second-placed Paris St Germain, who are four points adrift, play at Grenoble.