Saint-Etienne were disappointed on Thursday night to only draw with Russian side Dnipro, but on Sunday they have a chance to get back to winning ways against Toulouse and Ricky van Wolfswinkel, on loan from Norwich City will be key to their success this weekend.
The centre-forward will be given another chance to show what he can do as Turkish striker Mevlut Erding has been ruled out for the next few weeks. This is the sort of no pressure situation that could get the best out of the Dutch striker.
There is still some level of pressure to score, but without Erding, he is the No.1 striker at the club, he will get to play for the next few games.
Les Verts return to league action on Sunday trying to win their first game in three weeks. A draw against Bordeaux was followed up with a loss against Marseille, there were positives to take from the OM game, but Galtier’s side need something to spark them.
That could be the return of their captain and leader Loic Perrin, back mid-week after six weeks out. He will replace Florentin Pogba in the defence and generally makes Les Verts look a little more solid all-round.
Coach Christophe Galtier also has Benjamin Corgnet back this weekend, and without Erding and Hamouma, he will be another well-needed attacking option in support of Van Wolfswinkel.
Former Leeds United winger Max Gradel was probably Sainté’s most dangerous player on Thursday, he should continue on the wing, but there is a choice of three on the other side. 17-year-old Allan Saint-Maximin, Kevin Monnet-Paquet or Yann Mollo will start on the left. Saint-Maximin has impressed in his two league appearances so far, he brings something a little different, but it all depends on his physical and mental fitness.
If Toulouse hadn’t gone to Rennes and won 3-0, Saint-Etienne would start strong favourites, but that seed of doubt, plus the amount of games Sainté have played in both domestic and European competition gives the away side a chance.
Toulouse won this fixture last season and have actually been a bogey side for Sainté at the Geoffrey-Guichard. The home side have only won this game twice in the last eight years. Four of them have ended in draws, that could be the way again on Sunday.
It all comes back to Van Wolfswinkel. If the forward can add to the goal he scored against Bordeaux, he could lead Saint-Etienne to victory, if not, it will be a long day for a packed Stade Geoffrey-Guichard.
Saint-Etienne vs Toulouse kicks off at 1pm UK time.