Juventus head coach Antonio Conte set to return to the touchline against Palermo
The stage is set for Juventus head coach Antonio Conte to return to the touchline at Palermo on Sunday.
Last Updated: 08/12/12 12:43pm
Juve's official website has been counting down the days leading up to Conte's comeback and the 43-year-old will supervise his team on a match day for the first time since he was banned from the dug-out for his alleged involvement in match-fixing.
The players made Conte's transition from exile as comfortable as possible by sealing progression to the Champions League knockout stages with a 1-0 victory at Shakhtar Donetsk this week.
Club director Beppe Marotta told juventus.com: "First of all we're delighted to have got through as it allows Conte to experience the Champions League.
"We've been disappointed not to have had him in the dug-out and we're looking forward to having him back in his technical area over the coming fixtures.
"People have given everything in his absence and that's what makes what we've achieved all the more extraordinary.
"We mustn't go into the Palermo game thinking about (Wednesday's) match. We need to be wary, they've got nothing to lose and won't need much in the way of motivation."
Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini pulled up injured at the Donbass Arena, leaving space for Lucio or Martin Caceres to come into the side.
Sebastian Giovinco is suspended and Conte may experiment by fielding on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner alongside Mirko Vucinic or Fabio Quagliarella.
Palermo head coach Gian Piero Gasperini is a confirmed admirer of Conte but warned his counterpart he would be given no quarter at the Renzo Barbera, with club president Maurizio Zamparini taking a more opportunistic approach.
"We hope they will be very tired after their victory the other night," he told La Repubblica. "This challenge comes at a bad time for them.
"Nothing is going well for us at the moment but Juve will certainly find a Palermo side fired up and enraged after our defeat at Inter."
Gasperini is likely to throw ex-Juve striker Fabrizio Miccoli into the mix tomorrow, while Abel Hernandez continues to recover from a serious leg injury. Defender Andrea Mantovani is another long-term absentee.
Palermo, who have a two-point cushion above the bottom three, lost this fixture 2-0 last year as Juve leapfrogged AC Milan on their way to claiming the Scudetto.