Paulo Dybala’s return from a hamstring injury will have to wait as Massimiliano Allegri has ruled the Argentinian out of Juventus’ trip to Fiorentina, but the coach will still be able to depend on “role model” Gonzalo Higuain.
The Serie A title race looks increasingly like a two-way battle, as both holders Juve and pacesetters Napoli – who are a point clear at the top – have surged clear of the chasing pack.
Juve will be desperate not to slip any further behind their rivals, but they face a tricky fixture on Friday away to Fiorentina.
Dybala will be unable to influence proceedings as he reportedly remains approximately two weeks from full fitness after suffering with a hamstring problem since early January.
But in Higuain, Juve have a striker back in form after scoring five goals in his last three games across all competitions, including a hat-trick in the 7-0 demolition of Sassuolo last time out.
“I’m very happy with Gonzalo’s performances and that he’s back among the goals again,” Allegri told reporters at his pre-match news conference.
“Even when he wasn’t scoring, he was still putting in great displays. He is a role model for the other players.”
Like Dybala, Blaise Matuidi, Juan Cuadrado and Benedikt Howedes will also be missing, but Allegri confirmed that Federico Bernardeschi will start against his former team.
“There is a possibility of seeing [Claudio] Marchisio, but we saw him on Sunday as well,” Allegri said. “He played from about 20 minutes in the place of Matuidi.
“I will have to observe in training today [Thursday] about whether or not I will make any changes. But there are no emergencies, as more or less everyone is available.
“Cuadrado is out, but we all knew that’d be the situation. Dybala, Howedes and Matuidi are out, then all the others are back.
“Douglas Costa is fine, though I do not think he will start because Bernardeschi is fine and it is only right that he plays in an important match like tomorrow [Friday].
“Federico’s decision to join us from Fiorentina was a completely professional one. He might not get the friendliest of receptions as he now plays for us, but he is calm ahead of the match.”