Rocchi ready to lead Inter's front line

Veteran striker Tommaso Rocchi never imagined he would lead the line for Inter Milan against Cagliari when he joined the Nerazzurri in January.

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The 35-year-old was recruited from Lazio as cover for Diego Milito, Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio but serious injuries to the trio have left him as Inter's only fit senior striker, with Marko Livaja out on loan at Atalanta.

He formed an unorthodox partnership with midfielder Ricky Alvarez against the Bergamo club last weekend, scoring his 100th Serie A goal in the process, although they went on to suffer a shock 4-3 home defeat.

Rocchi's colleagues have not travelled to Sardinia for the meeting with Cagliari, but instead to Trieste's Stadio Nereo Rocco following the islanders' decision to abandon the controversial Stadio Is Arenas.

He told "We're crippled with injury problems at the moment and I'm the only recognised striker available, but that won't stop us giving 100 per cent.

"I'm in much better shape now than when I joined, I just needed to train and get into my stride. In situations like this you find that extra bit of motivation that pushes you beyond the fatigue."

Despite the political and residential problems that have plagued Cagliari's season, the Rossoblu are 12 points clear of the relegation zone in 11th place, while Inter continue to struggle to get out of sixth.

"It's going to be tough, there are no easy games in this league," Rocchi added. "We'll just keep going and take each match as it comes.

"We've got seven games left to play, we've never given up and we're not going to now.

"Playing in Trieste? The main thing is that we play at a decent stadium. I don't know if the playing surface is in good condition but we'll see. I hope so."

Winger Ezequiel Schelotto is suspended while Joel Obi, Gaby Mudingayi, Luca Castellazzi, Cristian Chivu, Yuto Nagatomo and Dejan Stankovic join Milito, Cassano and Palacio on a lengthy injury list.

Last week's setback left the Nerazzurri eight points shy of third-placed AC Milan and a Champions League place but fourth place is attainable should Fiorentina and Lazio slip up.

Cagliari are without suspended midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who should be replaced by Matias Cabrera, and defender Francesco Pisano, whose season is over after he fractured his fibula against Catania.

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