MILAN, Aug 21 (Reuters) - AS Roma striker Francesco Totti is expected to make his first competitive appearance since injuring his knee in April in Sunday's Italian Super Cup against league champions Inter Milan.
The captain has been working his way back to fitness after surgery and is expected to at least make the bench in the curtain raiser to the Italian season.
Italian Cup holders Roma could plump for new signing Julio Baptista upfront if Totti is not risked from the start but Inter keeper Julio Cesar knows who he fears most.
'I respect Totti hugely. He has always scored goals against me in every way - long range shots, lobs, free kicks,' Cesar told Thursday's Gazzetta dello Sport.
Roma have had a tough week with 82-year-old president Franco Sensi dying last Sunday. Thousands turned up for Wednesday's funeral and Totti was among those who carried the coffin.
Roma players Daniele De Rossi, Alberto Aquilani, Simone Perrotta and Marco Cassetti flew straight from the funeral to Italy's 2-2 friendly draw with Austria in Nice, and their performances showed their minds were elsewhere.
Inter's build-up under new coach Jose Mourinho has been less stressed although main striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to struggle with a long-term knee problem.
The Swede is expected to play on Sunday but is not likely to be risked for the full 90 minutes ahead of the start of the Serie A season on Aug. 30 and 31.
Inter winger Mancini, bought from Roma in the close season to fit into Mourinho's favoured three-pronged attack, can expect a difficult reception from his former fans.
The game is being played at the San Siro in Milan after plans to play the match abroad never came to fruition.
The lower-ranked sides from Serie A last season also enter the Italian Cup this weekend before the league programme has even got under way.
Lazio host lower league Benevento in the third round on Saturday with Catania entertaining relegated Parma in the pick of the matches.