Palermo vs Sampdoria, Preview: Surprise strugglers come face-to-face in Sicily

Tullio M. Puglia

Two sides sinking without a trace meet on Sunday in a relegation dogfight.

Both sides have lost their modjo along with that winning feeling. Palermo have won just the once all season and sit second from bottom, while Sampdoria have lost their last six games in a row and haven't tasted victory since the third round of games.

While Palermo have already undergone one managerial change, Sampdoria's Ciro Ferrara still clings to a job. Vice-President Edoardo Garrone has publicly backed the under-fire tactician.

"This negative period doesn't worry me," he said. "We want to build a project with Ferrara. You shouldn't even ask me whether he is at risk. I've never considered his sacking and I won't do over the coming months either - not even if things get worse."

Up until last weekend, the home side had drawn four in succession, but a 4-1 drubbing against Roma has led to alarm bells ringing once again. Gian Piero Gasperini labelled it the "worst performance of the season," and has echoed President Maurizio Zamparini's desires of a January clear-out.

Josip Ilicic started from the bench in Rome, but came on to end a year-long goal drought. Despite losing Fabrizio Miccoli during the game to a thigh injury, tests have revealed just a strain, so the pocket striker shouldn't miss too much action.

The news on Andrea Mantovani isn't so good. The defender requires a knee operation to repair damaged ligaments sustained against AC Milan and is set to be out of action for six months, joining other long term absentee Abel Hernandez on the sidelines.

Sampdoria also lost a key player last weekend after Maxi Lopez suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee and underwent an operation this week. He's expected back in just over a month.

Palermo injuries and suspensions

Out: Fabrizio Miccoli, Abel Hernandez, Massimo Donati, Mauro Cetto, Andrea Mantovani (injured)

Sampdoria injuries and suspensions

Out: Maxi Lopez, Gaetano Berardi, Nicola Pozzi, Nenad Krsticic (injured) Andrea Costa (suspended)

Match Date/Time: Sunday 11th November 2012 12:30 p.m. local, 6:30 a.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 2, Premium Calcio (Italy) RAI Internazionale (U.S & Canada) ESPN (UK)

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