Neil Lennon has played down the potential significance of reports claiming Udinese will travel to Glasgow without a recognised striker for Thursday's Europa League Group I clash at Parkhead.

The Italian club's coach, Francesco Guidolin, whose side are joint top of Serie A, was quoted as saying that star forward Antonio di Natale was "tired" and would be given time off. With several other players injured or ineligible, reports claim rookie Diego Fabbrini - an attacking midfielder - will lead the line.

However, Lennon said: "If it benefits us then I'm pleased about it but we will wait and see. Di Natale is a quality player and has been in great form for the last 18 months, two years."

He added: "If he is not there then I am sure they have adequate cover. Maybe not a top-quality goalscorer but you are talking about the cream of Serie A, so they will have a very good squad."

Lennon rejected claims that the Italians are "disrespecting" the competition by resting their top player.

"I don't think it is disrespect. People have brought that up but I don't think so. Their coach will do what he feels is best for their team," said Lennon.

"But we try not to concentrate too much on what they are doing and focus more on what we are going to do.

"We are going to be positive. We are going to take the game to them. We are the home team."

The Hoops have been boosted by news that Gary Hooper has shrugged off an ankle knock. Kris Commons has recovered from a groin strain and illness but has just started his rehabilitation and will not be considered, while left-back Badr El-Kaddouri is cup-tied.

Long-term injured Emilio Izaguirre, Kelvin Wilson and Cha Du-ri are still out while Scott Brown is hoping to have recovered from his ankle injury for the game against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday

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Topics:
#Europa League
#Football
#Kris Commons
#Premier League
#Neil Lennon
#Queens Park Rangers
#Kelvin Wilson
#Gary Hooper
#Scott Brown
#Scott Brown