Gourcuff ready for Bordeaux return

PARIS - Playmaker Yoann Gourcuff is likely to return from injury for Girondins Bordeaux when the French champions travel to AJ Auxerre in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

The France midfielder was sorely missed when his side slumped to their first defeat of the season with a 3-1 loss at St Etienne in the last round of matches.

Gourcuff, who has scored four goals and set up two this season, resumed light training last Saturday the club said, raising hopes he could be back at the weekend.

"Yoann Gourcuff's return to full fitness is going according to plan," the club said on their website.

However, Bordeaux, who lost the league leadership to Olympique Lyon, could be without Marouane Chamakh after the Morocco striker picked up a knee injury in a World Cup qualifier in Gabon last weekend. Centre back Henrique is also a doubt with pain in his knee.

Leaders Olympique Lyon (20 points), who are one point above Bordeaux, are expected to be at full strength when they host lowly Sochaux on Saturday.

Olympique Marseille, who have lost their last two league games against Monaco and at Valenciennes, will be under pressure when they travel to Nancy, also on Saturday.

Forward Hatem Ben Arfa, however, tried to ease that pressure.

"We don't need to put ourselves under such pressure," he told the club's website. "It will be a very important game to get back on track.

"Losing three times in a row would not be good for our spirits or the fans. But we are serene."

Marseille, who have been experiencing defensive problems, conceding eight goals from their last three games in all competitions, have dropped to fifth in the standings, six points adrift of Lyon.

Surprise package Montpellier, in third place three points off the pace, will be without injured midfielder Philippe Delaye in their home game against St Etienne.

Fourth-placed Monaco will be the only top side playing on Sunday when they entertain strugglers RC Lens, looking for their first league victory since August.