Cagliari vs Palermo preview - Astori focusing on Palermo

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Posted Sunday, January 27, 2013 by PA

Cagliari defender Davide Astori is considering leaving Italy for pastures new at the end of the season, but their clash against fellow Serie A strugglers Palermo is a more pressing concern.

The 26-year-old has reportedly attracted the interest of Barclays Premier League clubs Liverpool and Southampton, but insists his sole focus is on steering Cagliari up the table and away from the bottom three.

The Rossoblu did manage to arrest a six-match losing run with victory over Genoa and a creditable draw at Atalanta, but the club are still only three points clear of 18th place.

Astori told La Repubblica: "It will be a difficult game on Sunday, an important relegation battle, and we have to get a result.

"I don't listen to transfer talk. The president deals with that. I will think about that in six months' time, at the end of the season.

"I would like to have an experience in a different European league one day. Spain and England could teach me a lot, it would be a life experience outside of football as well."

Lorenzo Ariaudo, Sebastian Eriksson and Nene are sidelined through injury, but head coach Ivo Pulga has no suspensions to deal with.

Pulga is confident Cagliari can start to climb the table, saying: "We will continue as we are, hoping the results go our way and that we are rewarded for our good performances.

"Even in the dark days our style of football has guided us through. We have another home game and we will prepare to the utmost against a direct rival. We could take a great leap up the table with a win."

The picture is bleaker for Palermo, who are four points shy of safety having failed to win since November, but this week saw head coach Gian Piero Gasperini make a concerted move to shore up a leaky backline.

After weeks of negotiation, veteran goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino arrived from Chievo on a three-and-a-half-year contract for a reported fee of four million euros.

Furthermore, Argentinian forward Mauro Formica has arrived on loan from Blackburn to add creativity to an inconsistent strikeforce.

Abel Hernandez and Andrea Mantovani, however, will not return to action until the end of March due to serious injuries, while Sergio Garcia serves a one-match ban.

Palermo have suffered back-to-back defeats on Sardinia and have failed to return with all three points since September 2007.

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