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Friday 25th January 2002

Roma striker Marco Delvecchio has said he is determined to hold on to his first-team place despite the return of Vincenzo Montella from injury.

Coach Fabio Capello has seen his attacking options severely restricted this season, with Gabriel Batistuta also sidelined with various aliments, leaving Delvecchio to lead the line as a lone striker.

"I know that in many people's eyes Vincenzo's return puts my position at risk, but who is to say that he will replace me," said Delvecchio.

"We are very different players and I am not that concerned as there will be plenty of opportunities for both of us especially when the Champions' League returns."

Both Delvecchio and Montella will be hoping to press their claims for a call-up to the Italy squad for this summer's World Cup finals, and the former Internazionale frontman knows that will only happen if he remains a regular at club level.

"To be in condition for the World Cup you need to be in top form and that can only happen if I am playing," he explained. "I have struggled recently because I have had a debilitating flu bug, but I am starting to recover and my target is still to score at least ten goals this season."

The defending champions, who were knocked off top spot last week after a 1-1 draw at Udinese, coupled with Inter's win against Parma, have an opportunity to return to winning ways on Sunday when they entertain Piacenza.

Roma will also be looking for revenge, as Piacenza have been the only side to inflict a league defeat on Capello's side this season – a 2-0 win back in the third week of the campaign.

"They deserved to win that match," admitted Delvecchio, "but we played badly and I expect a different outcome this time and you never know, Mr Capello might play three in attack."
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