Ferrara eyes Juventus reinforcements

ROME - Under-fire Juventus boss Ciro Ferrara has called for reinforcements to help stem the Turin side's worrying slump in form as he prepares for Sunday's Serie A visit to Chievo Verona.

Ferrara looks to have averted the immediate danger of dismissal after advancing to the Italian Cup quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Napoli on Wednesday.

However, his position remains precarious given that last weekend's 3-0 home defeat by AC Milan left Juventus 12 points behind leaders Inter Milan and all but ended their faint title hopes.

They have 33 points from 19 games and share third place with Napoli.

Ferrara's options to engineer a reversal of fortunes have been hampered by injuries to important players such as Mauro Camoranesi, Vincenzo Iaquinta and David Trezeguet.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said on his website that he is now fit to play after knee surgery, but the club said later on Thursday that defender Martin Caceres will be out for 20 days with a thigh strain.

Furthermore, Mohamed Sissoko is at the African Nations Cup with Mali, while defender Cristian Molinaro and midfielder Tiago have been loaned out to VfB Stuttgart and Atletico Madrid respectively.

"Now we'll have to intervene in the transfer market," Ferrara told reporters. "Some players have left and they'll have to be replaced."

Another target is Argentine midfielder Cristian Ledesma, who is taking legal action to free himself from his contract with Lazio after being frozen out this season for making a transfer request.

Juventus were hoping to recall Davide Lanzafame from his loan at Parma, but the forward's present club told reporters on Thursday that he will not be moving.

Aside from the result on Wednesday, Ferrara will be encouraged by the displays of Brazilian playmaker Diego and captain Alessandro Del Piero.

Diego, who had been a disappointment since arriving in a big-money deal from Werder Bremen in the close season, netted the opener and looked sharp throughout.

Del Piero then grabbed a brace for his first goals of the season, having had limited playing time so far, in part because of injury.

Inter are without a long list of injured players for Saturday's tricky match at Bari but forward Mario Balotelli is available after a suspension.

In-form AC Milan, who are eight points behind Inter in second with a game in hand, meet bottom side Siena at home on Sunday.