Renzo Barbera, Italy

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  • Stevan Jovetic 50'
  • Stevan Jovetic 83' PEN
  • Gonzalo Javier Rodriguez 89' PEN

Palermo v Fiorentina: Preview

Fiorentina head coach Vincenzo Montella is keen to cap an impressive year in management with a positive result at Palermo tomorrow.

The 38-year-old became the talk of Serie A when he guided Catania to 11th place last season, a first finish above Sicilian rivals Palermo in eight years, and the ex-Roma striker has gone from strength to strength at Fiorentina.

La Viola find themselves fourth in the table and challenging for a Champions League place as Montella's new-look squad continue to defy expectations.

A 1-0 Coppa Italia victory at Udinese proved an exhausting task for Montella's men in midweek but he is determined to oversee an energetic display at the Stadio Renzo Barbera nevertheless.

He told La Repubblica: ``This week has taken a lot out of us. I will need a few more hours to decide who plays tomorrow.

``Palermo are in good shape and have a decent record at home. We can't relax. We seriously need to get some points tomorrow.

``I've only been coaching for a short while and this has been a positive year for me professionally.''

Montella is reluctant to rely on the January transfer window to give Fiorentina an edge in the second half of the season, although he will never stop looking for bargains.

``We have make the most of what we've got,'' he added. ``We need to improve our quality and concentration.

``But the club is always looking to take advantage of a good opportunity.

``I read a lot into the character of a player, sometimes it's better to have a strong personality in the team than some high-profile name.''

Veteran striker Luca Toni could play despite carrying a hand injury, with Stevan Jovetic touch and go to start following a lengthy struggle with a thigh problem. Ruben Oliveira serves the second game of a four-match ban.

Palermo boss Gian Piero Gasperini is under pressure to pull his team clear of the relegation places going into the new year, with the Rosanero just one point and one place clear of the bottom three going into the weekend.

``Everything seems worse than it is at the moment,'' he said. ``Tomorrow we will try to play a good game and I think we can win.

``The league table doesn't look good for us but we know we have a good team that can be a match for anybody.''

Striker Abel Hernandez and midfielder Andrea Mantovani are long-term absentees through injury.

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