FRENCH LIGUE 1

Stade Louis II, Monaco

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AS Monaco

  • James Rodriguez 83'

1 - 2

FT

Valenciennes

  • Eric Abidal 30' OG
  • David Ducourtioux 58'

AS Monaco v Valenciennes: Preview

PA Sport

Monaco striker Radamel Falcao could make his return from injury in Friday night's Ligue 1 clash with Valenciennes at Stade Louis II.

The 27-year-old forward, who has been sidelined for the last four games after sustaining a thigh injury in the win at Nantes on November 24, has scored nine times for Monaco since his summer switch from Atletico Madrid and is set to make a comeback this weekend.

Coach Claudio Ranieri said he would leave it late before making a decision on Falcao's fitness, and he told ligue1.com: ``He was able to train normally with the squad this week.

``I'll have to decide. I'm going to see if he'll start or whether he'll begin the game on the bench alongside me.

``I have two days to think about it. I'll have to see about it with him, but he could play.''

Meanwhile, Ranieri has demanded his side 'stay focused' for Friday's clash.

Monaco are flying high in second place in the table following a five-match winning streak in the league, with just one Ligue 1 defeat all season and they are hot on the heels of leaders Paris St Germain with just two points seperating them.

While VA on the other hand have lost three of their last four matches and are currently fighting at the other end of the table - placed 18th - with their last win coming early last month away to fellow strugglers Ajaccio.

But Ranieri remains wary of the threat of lowly Valenciennes and warned his side to stay focused with the chance to go top with victory as PSG do not play until Sunday evening when they take on third-placed Lille.

He told his club's official website: ``(We must) Beware of concentration.

``We must stay focused on our game and I want everyone to be involved.

``There must be competition, the fight in the group. We need to be focused on ourselves.

``VA is a dangerous team so we must be careful.''

Midfielder Yannick Ferreira Carrasco has recovered from his ankle sprain and is available, while Nacer Barazite could be considered for selection after overcoming a knee injury.

Meanwhile VA coach Ariel Jacobs has named young Valenciennes B midfielder Lyes Houri, 17 in his 20-man squad as his side aims to bounce back from Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Bordeaux.

Their hopes have been harmed by a long injury list that currently sees Anthony Le Tallec (hamstring), Lindsay Rose (knee), Gregory Pujol (pneumothorax) and Mody Traore (hamstring) sidelined as they sit five points from safety.

VA loanee Gary Kagelmacher is looking forward to returning to Stade Louis II to play against his parent side on Friday.

The 25-year-old Uruguayan, who scored three goals in 36 appearances for the Reds and Whites last season, said on the official VA Twitter feed: ``It's always a pleasure to return to Monaco.''

Jacobs' side go to Monaco for the last match before the winter break in search of some much-needed points after collecting just three from their last six Ligue 1 matches.

ends

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