AC Milan have suffered a blow ahead of Saturday's match against Udinese after top scorer Mario Balotelli was ruled out through injury.
The Italy international striker missed the Rossoneri's last three league games through suspension but was expected to return to action this weekend.
Balotelli, who was on target for Italy in Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Armenia, sustained a muscular problem in his right thigh later in the week.
The former Inter Milan player is now doubtful for Tuesday's Champions League clash against Barcelona.
With Udinese arriving at San Siro, one consolation for Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri is the fact that Brazilian midfielder Kaka will be available after he recovered from the hamstring injury that had ruled him out for three weeks.
The Rossoneri go into this weekend's encounter looking to spark their stuttering season into life.
Allegri's side have taken just eight points from seven games and their 3-2 defeat at Juventus before the international break saw them drop to 12th.
``We need to use our heads because we are not going through a good spell and we need three points this weekend,'' Allegri said. ``We have to be more competitive.
``My players always have to go out onto the pitch determined to get the best result, regardless of who we play against.
``I expect a very difficult game against Udinese. They have quality players but we just have to think about winning.''
The Rossoneri remain without six injured players and to further complicate matters for Allegri, defender Philippe Mexes will serve the first installment of a three-match ban on Saturday.
Milan have reinforced their defensive line after agreeing terms with Spanish club Valencia to sign Adil Rami on loan.
The France international is, however, ineligible for competitive action until the January transfer window opens.
Udinese, coached by Francesco Guidolin, are eighth in the table and two points clear of Milan.
The Friulian outfit go into the Milanese encounter on the back of a 2-0 triumph over Cagliari, only a third win of the campaign for Guidolin's side.
And Zebrette midfielder Allan expects a stern test at San Siro.
``Milan are a difficult team to play against,'' Allan said. ``They will be desperate to emerge from a difficult situation and we are expecting a battle.
``We will have to be really focused in order to take home a victory.''