Ranieri expects Abidal return against Lyon

The France defender has missed Monaco's last two games - a 2-0 defeat to Saint-Etienne and a 2-1 win over Sochaux - due to a viral infection that saw him briefly hospitalised.

Abidal, who underwent a liver transplant in 2012, returned to training prior to the success against struggling Sochaux but was not deemed fit to participate.

However, Ranieri is pleased with the progress the former Barcelona man has made since then and expects him to make his comeback against a club he played for between 2004 and 2007.

"Eric Abidal had a good week," Ranieri said. "I have yet to decide but I think he will play."

Ranieri's men will be without Jeremy Toulalan - another former Lyon star - due to suspension, but the Italian expects his players to perform despite the absence of the experienced midfielder.

"Everyone knows the strength and quality of Toulalan. The others will make more efforts in his absence," Ranieri added.

Fifth-placed Lyon are in contention for Ligue 1's third and final UEFA Champions League qualifying place after suffering just one loss in 13 league games.

And Ranieri knows that his team will face a stiff test from the seven-time French champions.

"Lyon had a difficult start to the season, but since then I see a team moving forward," he explained. "Lyon have so many good young players."

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