FRENCH LIGUE 1

Stade Nungesser, France

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Valenciennes v St Etienne: Preview

St Etienne coach Christophe Galtier has told his Champions League-chasing players to keep focused on the job in hand when they visit Ligue 1 strugglers Valenciennes tomorrow night.

Les Verts head to the Stade du Hainaut unbeaten in 2013, lying third in the standings and preparing to face a VA team who have not won in their last seven league games.

But Galtier, speaking at his pre-match press conference, was not getting carried away by his side's prospects and urged his troops to also stay calm.

``The run-in is not going to be very tactical,'' he said.

``We must be physically and mentally fresh, free, generous and intelligent. We must not ask ourselves questions.

``There should be no excitement. We need to keep clear heads.

``At Valenciennes we have a tough game and must be focused. Valenciennes are in trouble. But what really matters is the performance of my team.''

Valenciennes coach Daniel Sanchez has acknowledged his side, who sit only six points above the relegation zone, need to arrest their recent slump as a matter of urgency.

He told club website www.va-fc.com: ``This game is important, as are all of our remaining games. We have to take points, and the sooner the better.

``We will do all we can to make that the case against St Etienne. They are a team in a situation where everything is successful, but we need to ignore that.

``We know that we are playing a good team, but we are not thinking about our opponents.

``We need to focus on us. At one point, we must learn to deliver. That's what I'm waiting for in Friday's game. It will be at our home, in front of our own fans, which must further enhance our motivation. We have already experienced this in the past and will do everything we can.''

Anthony Le Tallec remains troubled by an Achilles problem and tomorrow's game will come too soon for Gregory Pujol (hamstring), but their fellow forward Vincent Aboubakar has resumed group training after a thigh injury.

Mody Traore (Achilles), Abdou Camara and Francis Massampu (both knee) are long-term absentees and defender Nicolas Isimat-Mirin misses out against St Etienne through suspension.

The visitors will be without midfielder Max Gradel, who underwent a knee operation on Monday.

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