Balotelli could make Nice return against Krasnodar

Mario Balotelli could make his Nice comeback in Thursday's Europa League encounter with Krasnodar.

Nice boss Lucien Favre has hinted that Mario Balotelli could return for the French side in Thursday's Europa League clash with Krasnodar.

The Italy international - who has scored four goals in three games in all competitions since arriving at the Allianz Riviera - missed his side's 1-0 victory at Nancy on Sunday due to a groin problem.

But Favre has not ruled out the possibility of the former Liverpool man featuring in Russia as Nice look to secure their first win in Group I after losing their opener against Schalke 1-0.

"Mario had a sore groin," the Nice coach told reporters. "It was too risky [to play him against Nancy].

"We will have to see for Thursday's game."

Nice will travel to Krasnodar buoyed by their fifth win of the Ligue 1 campaign, which saw them return to the top of the table at the expense of local rivals Monaco, and Favre made no attempt to hide his delight at his side's flying start to the season. 

"Seventeen points after seven games is wonderful," he said.

"We're all happy. It is clear that this is an excellent start to the season and we are savouring it. 

"It will not always be like this, but we are all united. We still have a lot of progress to make, but it takes time."