JOSE MOURINHO could decide to give Manchester City loanee Emmanuel Adebayor his first start in a Real Madrid shirt tomorrow after the Togolese hitman scored as a substitute in midweek to help send them into the Spanish Cup final.
Adebayor's first goal for Real came against Sevilla on Wednesday. Now Mourinho has the option of pairing him with Karim Benzema against mid-table Real Sociedad.
"I am here to help," said Adebayor yesterday. "I'm here to play 15 or 20 minutes as a substitute if that is what I am asked to do. I'm surrounded by good players. The goal I scored in midweek was a team goal and before it (Mesut) Ozil scored a fantastic goal."
Real Madrid are seven points adrift of Barcelona who face Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou tonight. Former Arsenal and Barcelona youth team player Fran Merida could start his first game for the visitors, who are hoping to end Barca's run of 15 straight victories.
If Barcelona win, they will become the first team in Spain to win 16 consecutive league games, beating Real Madrid's run of 15 in the 1960-61 season.
Pedro could also go into the record books. He has scored in his last six games and a goal in his seventh would draw him level with Johan Cruyff and behind only Mariano Martin and Brazilian Ronaldo, who scored in nine and 10 straight games respectively.
In Italy, AC Milan look to maintain their five-point lead at the top of Serie A with a visit to struggling Genoa. Gennaro Gattuso will partner Mark van Bommel in midfield for the first time since the Dutchman signed at the start of the year and Antonio Cassano could start in place of Alexandre Pato in attack.
Fahey wins reprieve as Treacy pulls out
A KNEE injury to Preston's Keith Treacy has handed Keith Fahey a way back into Giovanni Trapattoni's affections. The Birmingham City midfielder was left out Ireland's squad when it was trimmed by the Italian ahead of Ireland's Carling Nations Cup opener against Wales on Tuesday.
Fahey had started Ireland's previous two matches, and scored the winning goal in Armenia, but Wigan Athletic's James McCarthy was preferred by Trapattoni, despite being left out of the initial squad. (© Independent News Service)