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Liverpool loanee the key to success for Bordeaux on Thursday

Tiago Ilori

Up against an in-form Saint-Etienne side. Tiago Ilori will need to be at his best on Thursday if Bordeaux are to come away with anything.

Thursday night’s game looks set to be a tough test for Willy Sagnol’s Bordeaux and the new coach will have to call upon Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori to put in a performance if Les Girondins want to leave Saint-Etienne with all three points.

Sitting in fourth place in Ligue 1, Bordeaux travel east to face the side sitting directly above them in the table and it is set to be a very intriguing match-up.

Bordeaux’s captain Ludovic Sané is injured so Ilori will partner Nicolas Pallois in the centre of defence, it hasn’t been the best start to Ilori’s loan spell, his debut saw Bordeaux lose 2-1 and then he conceded another in the 2-1 win over Evian. This will be his toughest test yet.

After tough away games in both the Europa League and against Lens, it is a surprise that there are only two changes expected from Saint-Etienne Coach Christophe Galtier on Thursday. However, the lengthy injury list is limiting his options and could lead to a start for Norwich City loanee Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

Van Wolfswinkel came on played for 25 minutes against Lens without much effect, but keen to try and get some rest for top scorer Mevlut Erding could see the Norwich striker start upfront in the 4-3-3 as Les Verts try to build on Sunday’s 1-0 victory.

Kevin Theophile-Catherine, Loic Perrin, Romain Hamouma and Benjamin Corgnet are all still unavailable, all four would usually feature in the first XI. After signing a new contract, Stephane Ruffier will continue in goals, the back four in front of him should remain the same, with only Jonathan Brison his real option to change anything.

This could be a huge chance for Van Wolfswinkel to show Galtier that he can start up front this season as his performances so far have left a lot to be desired.

It is an interesting comparison between a team that has played some tough games and would love to maybe rest one of two more players and a side that bounced back with a victory over Evian, that would maybe have enjoyed more consistency in the lineup.

Saint-Etienne should win the midfield battle with Sertic out, and Les Verts at home should just have enough in each position to edge past Les Girondins. Sagnol has worked his magic this season and with Diego Rolan and Wahbi Khazri in the side anything is possible. However, they will rely on the defensive performance from Ilori to keep it tight and give the attack a chance to make a difference.

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