Gilardino fit and ready for Genoa return

Genoa have top scorer Alberto Gilardino fit and available following injury for Monday's game against Sassuolo.

Finally a breakthrough for the home team.

The Italy striker, who has found the net seven times in 17 league games, dislocated his shoulder in the 1-0 defeat at Bologna on December 22 but trained last week and will feature in his team's first game of 2014.

And Gilardino is optimistic his side can begin the new year on a good note.

"I believe the team can start 2014 well," Gilardino said. "We need a good run of results because this is a very difficult campaign and every game is important."

Genoa have not recorded a win since beating Hellas Verona 2-0 on November 10, with their last five matches bringing three draws and two defeats.

Their 1-0 loss at Bologna last time out dropped Genoa to ninth position in the standings and club coach Gian Piero Gasperini wants more from his team.

"Staying in Serie A is the minimum," Gasperini said. "But we could have something even more satisfying from the second half of the season.

"We play Sassuolo Monday and we want to get off on the right foot."

Sassuolo will be bolstered by the return of captain Francesco Magnarelli from suspension.

Magnarelli missed his side's 1-0 defeat to Fiorentina in the last round, which was Sassuolo's third straight loss.

Sassuolo are 18th in the standings, one place and one point behind safety.

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco will be hoping his team can end its goalscoring drought with the promoted outfit having failed to find the back of the net in their last three league games.

Fortunately for Sassuolo, Genoa are without injured defenders Daniele Portanova, Thomas Manfredini and Alessandro Gamberini.

Also, the hosts are without suspended defender Francesco Acerbi while midfielder Ezequiel Schelotto is doubtful with injury.



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