Roma's Toni poised to return against Milan

Thu Mar 4, 2010 11:20am GMT

By Paul Virgo

ROME (Reuters) - Luca Toni looks set to make his return from injury for AS Roma at home against AC Milan in Saturday's (1945 GMT) battle between Inter Milan's two closest rivals for the Serie A title.

The forward joined third-placed Roma on loan in the transfer window seeking regular action to boost his chances of making Italy's World Cup squad after falling out of favour at Bayern Munich.

After making a promising start, Toni's plans were set back by a calf injury in January but he returned to training with his team mates this week and Italian media expect him to feature at some point as Roma bid to pull level with Milan in second place.

Chilean midfielder David Pizarro might return from a calf problem too, but skipper Francesco Totti will probably miss out again with the latest of a string of injuries.

Roma's midfield and attack may have been reinforced but coach Claudio Ranieri is likely to be more concerned about the defensive blackouts that have cost his side recently.

The Rome club let a two-goal advantage slip in the closing stages of last week's 2-2 draw at Napoli, days after conceding three goals in six minutes in a 3-2 home loss to Panathinaikos as they crashed out of the Europa League 6-4 on aggregate.

Those lapses could be why Ranieri has said several times that his side had no chance of catching Inter, who are seven points ahead of them.

Milan, who are four points behind the leaders, are less coy about their title ambitions.   Continued...

<p>AS Roma's Luca Toni celebrates after scoring his second goal against Genoa during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Rome January 17, 2010. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito</p>
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