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Gervinho ‘ready’ to lead Roma redemption

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Gervinho playing for Roma in Indonesia. PHOTO/File

Gervinho playing for Roma in Indonesia. PHOTO/File

MILAN, December 5- Ivory Coast striker Gervinho has shaken off injury and could play a part on Saturday as Roma seek redemption for recent sins at home and in Europe with a morale-boosting win at Torino.

Gervinho had been on scintillating form for Rudi Garcia’s Serie A title challengers until he suffered a muscle injury playing against Liberia a fortnight ago that was expected to sideline him for three weeks.

The injury was expected to keep Gervinho on the sidelines until after Roma’s decisive Champions League clash at home to BATE Borisov on Wednesday.

But Garcia revealed Gervinho is “ready” a week earlier than anticipated and could play a role on Saturday when the Giallorossi bid to close their four-point gap on Serie A leaders Napoli.

“Gervinho is ready, as is (defender, Leandro) Castan,” Garcia told media on Friday. “We’re all ready apart from Maicon, who’s suspended, and the long-term absentees. We’re 100% focused on tomorrow’s game.”

Roma have finished runners-up to Juventus the past two seasons but this term Napoli, Fiorentina and Inter Milan have all underlined their title ambitions with promising starts to their respective campaigns.

Napoli hold a one-point lead on Inter, with Fiorentina in third a point further adrift and Roma two points further back in fourth.

Champions Juventus sit in fifth but will close their seven-point gap on Napoli to four points if they beat Lazio in the Italian capital later Friday.

Garcia’s men, meanwhile, have amends to make after a forgettable week at home and in Europe. Days after an embarrassing 6-1 Champions League defeat away to Barcelona, Roma were handed a 2-0 defeat by mid-table Atalanta.

It prompted Garcia to order a squad lockdown from Thursday until Saturday, but the Frenchman says the players’ decision to have a meal together on Wednesday — their last opportunity to spend time with their families until Sunday — is testament to their commitment.

“It’s a very positive sign. The players decided to all go out for dinner together even in the knowledge we’d all be staying together the following day as part of our preparations,” said Garcia.

“That shows togetherness and it’s the only way to immediately start getting results again.”

Asked if Gervinho could last 90 minutes, Garcia said: “I’m just focused on tomorrow’s match. We have to give it our all in Turin, nothing else concerns me.”

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