Parma v Juventus: Lodi warns leaders to expect a battle
Francesco Lodi has vowed that crisis club Parma will demonstrate another display of strength in the face of adversity against runaway Serie A leaders Juventus at Stadio Ennio Tardini on Saturday.
Parma face an uncertain future after they were declared bankrupt last month and entered administration, having run up huge debts.
The two-time UEFA Cup winners must hope that new investors step forward to save them from going out of business but, despite not being paid for months, Roberto Donadoni's side have certainly not thrown the towel in.
Parma remain bottom of the table and look destined to remain there, but they secured a first Serie A victory since January by beating Udinese 1-0 on Wednesday.
That long-awaited win came on the back of a 1-1 draw at Inter last Saturday and Donadoni expressed his pride over the manner in which his players have gone about their business.
Lodi made his first start since January at San Siro and the midfielder is determined to show Juve that Parma are no soft touch despite their current plight.
He said: "We will try to play as we have done so far, with all our determination.
"Juve is the strongest team in Italy, has already practically won another league title, but in Parma will find a team ready to fight and sacrifice but that will not leave anything to chance because these months are important for the future of all of us and society.
"On Saturday we would like to give joy because we know that even with a win like yesterday [against Udinese] we can make many people happy, beginning with those who work every day here at Parma.
"There is so much pride, we are showing that we play head on to the end."
While Parma ponder what the future may hold, these are exciting times for Juve as they attempt to win a famous treble.
The Turin giants have all-but wrapped up a fourth successive Serie A title as they sit 14 points clear at the top of the table and can look forward to a UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg tie at home to Monaco next Tuesday.
Juve will also face Lazio in the Coppa Italia final in June after beating Fiorentina 3-0 in their semi-final second leg to seal a 4-2 aggregate victory in midweek.
Massimiliano Allegri's men have won their last six games without conceding a goal, so Parma will be up against it this weekend and in a game captain Alessandro Lucarelli will miss due to suspension.
Juve still have injury concerns over Paul Pogba (hamstring), Carlos Tevez (thigh), Andrea Pirlo (calf), and Stephan Lichtsteiner (knock).