Marseille are set to give a debut to Senegalese striker Modou Sougou as they look to get past in-form Rennes at the Stade de la Route de Lorient tomorrow.
Sougou has joined the Ligue 1 title chasers from Romanian club CFR Cluj on a three-and-a-half-year deal to help offset the loss of Loic Remy to QPR and becomes their third winter transfer signing following those of midfielder Foued Kadir and goalkeeper Brice Samba.
The 28-year-old Sougou, capped 10 times by his country, is not playing in the African Nations Cup because Senegal failed to qualify and will go straight into a match Marseille need to win to maintain the pressure on the leaders.
Marseille are currently third with 41 points, just one behind leaders Paris St Germain, who play on Sunday, and Lyon.
They are unbeaten on their last four visits to Rennes, winning on the last two trips, and were 3-1 winners at home earlier in the season.
Rennes have climbed to fifth after taking 22 points from their last 11 matches - only Nice have picked up more points in that time - but the Breton club have problems in midfield following the midweek move of Yann M'Vila to Rubin Kazan and the loss of Vincent Pajot with a torn hamstring.
Attacking midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa is on African Nations Cup duty but Rennes can call on Romain Alessandrini and Julien Feret, who have been instrumental in their recent surge.
``It is important not to lose,'' said midfielder Jean Makoun, who is on a season-long loan from Aston Villa. ``If we get a good result, it will allow us to stay in contact.''