Iaquinta set to start for Italy

MILAN - Vincenzo Iaquinta would have no qualms operating as the main striker in Italy's World Cup qualifier in Montenegro, the Juventus player said on Thursday.

Iaquinta has often been used in a wide position by coach Marcello Lippi but injuries to Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino mean the 29-year-old is almost certain to lead the line in Podgorica on Saturday.

He has played in that position in this week's training sessions with Udinese duo Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella supporting him in a 4-3-3 formation.

"At Juve we play with two forwards. In the national team I have been used on the wing. If I play as the main striker I can equally create space," the former Udinese frontman told a news conference.

"I have never played with Italy from the start as the main striker but it's not a problem. At Udinese I did it for seven years and that is the position that suits me best."

Iaquinta, who scored twice in last weekend's 4-1 win at AS Roma, has not always been a regular for Juve but has played five games in a row after injuries to Amauri and David Trezeguet.

"If I'm fit I don't feel inferior to anybody. I am enjoying a really great spell. I am playing with continuity, I don't have physical problems and I am well psychologically," he said.

World champions Italy, who also host fellow Group Eight leaders Ireland in Bari on Wednesday, are missing injured players in each position.

Training sessions suggest Sampdoria's Angelo Palombo will play alongside Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi in midfield.