Catania are clear favourites going into Saturday's derby, sitting nine places above their rivals in seventh as well as being eight points better off, with Rosanero head coach Gian Piero Gasperini under increasing pressure to turn things around at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.
To make matters worse, Samir Ujkani, Edgar Barreto and Carlos Labrin were all sent off in last weekend's 3-0 loss at Bologna, joining injured duo Abel Hernandez and Andrea Mantovani on the sidelines at an inconvenient time.
Palermo director of sport Pietro Lo Monaco spent eight years in a similar role with Catania but he has few fond memories of his time spent under the shadow of Mount Etna.
"This is a derby that usually defies all expectations, and we need to put everything at stake to get out of this situation," he told the Corriere dello Sport.
"Gasperini? His position has never been in doubt. He is the best coach we could have ever hoped for.
"The modern Catania Calcio is my creation and not much has changed since I left.
"I won't talk to (president Antonino) Pulvirenti and I will never reveal my reasons for leaving the club."
Lo Monaco went on to mock the Elefanti, claiming they were "no Barcelona" and prompting Pulvirenti to issue an angry response on the club's website.
The Catania chief said: "We would like to point out that verbal violence, vulgarity and insults are no longer part of this club.
"Our style is based on obeying the rules, behaving fairly and respecting the quality of our opponents."
Catania are in better shape than tomorrow's opposition but talismanic striker Gonzalo Bergessio will play no part at the Barbera due to a thigh injury.
Keko, Blazej Augustyn, Fabio Sciacca and Marco Biaganti are also on the treatment table but the quartet have barely featured this season.
Despite their troubles, Palermo are unbeaten in their last five home games, but Catania have won two and drawn one of the last three Sicilian derbies - the most comprehensive victory coming in April 2011 as the Elefanti ran out 4-0 winners.