Previews: Pandev poised for Inter debut
New Inter Milan striker Goran Pandev is ready to start in the trip to Chievo despite not having played a league game since May after being banished from the squad at Lazio.
The Macedonian has signed for his former club on a free transfer after a messy legal divorce from Lazio and could go straight into the side with Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o at the African Nations Cup.
"In the last few days I trained in Macedonia. I am ready and there are no problems," he told Inter's TV channel.
Inter, eight points clear at the top as Serie A returns from its midseason break, have problems in midfield with Dejan Stankovic and Thiago Motta suspended and others injured.
Jose Mourinho may therefore be forced to play Pandev in a front three with little-used midfielder Patrick Vieira in line to start despite transfer speculation linking him with a move to England.
The midday kick-off at Chievo, arranged so more games can be shown separately on television on the Epiphany holiday, is causing problems for Serie A players not used to games so early.
"Instead of breakfast, we will have lunch at 9am. It's hard," Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier told reporters.
David Beckham's chances of a start in AC Milan's home game with Genoa, where away fans are banned, have been boosted by minor injuries to Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo which could rule them out.
Midfielder Beckham, who has returned for a second loan spell from Los Angeles Galaxy, has said he is willing to play in Milan's problem right back slot but he is unlikely to be thrown in at the deep end in his first match.
Second-placed Milan's other new signing, Ghana under-20 striker Dominic Adiyiah, is still getting used to his new surroundings and is not expected to be involved.
Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara, whose third-placed side trail Inter by nine points after two successive defeats, has been testing a new 4-4-2 system in training amid speculation he will be sacked soon if results do not improve.
Brazilian playmaker Diego, a big close-season buy who has failed to shine, could be employed as a second striker in the game at high-flying Parma where Fabio Cannavaro is suspended.
Mali's Mohamed Sissoko is at the African Nations Cup while Gianluigi Buffon, Vincenzo Iaquinta and Mauro Camoranesi are injured. Cristian Molinaro and Tiago are close to joining Vfb Stuttgart and Atletico Madrid, media reports have said.
Top striker Antonio Di Natale is suspended and defender Felipe has been loaned to Fiorentina as stuttering Udinese start life under new coach Gianni De Biasi at Bari.
Joint fourth AS Roma are planning to hand new signing Luca Toni a start at Cagliari with fellow striker Francesco Totti struggling with a knock.