Fitness battle for Milan duo
Nesta and Pato doubtful for Red Devils showdown
Last Updated: 08/02/10 2:23pm
Leonardo: Injury worries
AC Milan boss Leonardo is in the dark over whether Alessandro Nesta or Alexandre Pato will be fit for the first leg of their blockbuster UEFA Champions League clash with Manchester United.
The Rossoneri are currently languishing behind local rivals Inter in the standings for the scudetto and were knocked out of the Coppa Italia last month meaning an eighth European crown is now their number one target.
But the San Siro outfit are sweating on the fitness of two of their key men ahead of the Red Devils' visit to Milan next Tuesday.
Experienced defender Nesta has been struggling with a hamstring strain, while star striker Pato has an ongoing muscle complaint which is believed to have stemmed from a problem with his dentures.
And Leonardo has admitted he his growing increasingly concerned over whether his first-team performers will be available in time.
"They're dragging on a little too much," the Milan boss told Football Italia. "We will evaluate them over the next few days.
"First they have to train with continuity and then we'll understand what condition they are in. It's not only a clinical question, but a technical one as well.
On whether the important duo will be fit in time for the San Siro clash the Brazilian added: "I don't know if I will have them available on Friday against Udinese or the following Tuesday against Manchester United.
"I can only hope to get them back before then. And study the alternatives."
One of those alternatives could be Daniele Bonera after the Milan defender was came through an Sunday's goalless draw at Bologna.
The Italy international made his first league start in almost a year at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.