Countdown on for Lyon coach Puel

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

The clock is ticking for Olympique Lyon coach Claude Puel, who has been given until October 23 by chairman Jean-Michel Aulas to improve results as the French champions from 2002 to 2008 lie 17th in the standings.

Puel has two home games left - against third-placed Lille, his former club, on Sunday and Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday - to save his job but said he was "not going to change".

"After the two games, the chairman will take his decision. I don't care," he told sports daily L'Equipe.

The match between 13th-placed Nice and second-placed St Etienne has been rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday at the request of the Interior Ministry.

The game has been classified as a security risk because of past incidents between the two clubs but the reason cited by the ministry was a lack of police due to a day of nationwide demonstrations against a pension reform.

Olympique Marseille striker Mathieu Valbuena will probably be rested for Saturday's match against lowly Nancy after returning from international duty with a knee injury.

He received the green light from the team doctor after a scan but coach Didier Deschamps said: "I don't want to take any risk and we'll need everybody on board for our Champions League match against Zilina on Tuesday."

Nancy travel to Marseille with a new captain, striker Youssouf Hadji, after coach Pablo Correa stripped goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano of the armband following the blunder which led to his team's 3-2 defeat at home to Lyon on October 3.

AJ Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez will have no excuse for being late for Saturday's match against Girondins Bordeaux as the players have offered him a Cartier watch to mark the occasion of his 500th game on the bench of a Ligue 1 club.