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Henry's balancing act

Publish on 09/01/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Monaco boss Thierry Henry has had no shortage of headaches since taking the job - a raft of big-name injuries chief among them - and on Wednesday night he faces another as in-form Rennes come calling in the quarters.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Coupe de la Ligue, quarter-finals

Stade Louis II, Monaco

AS Monaco - Stade Rennais FC 

While the competition provides an efficient route to silverware that could light up an otherwise sombre season, Henry needs to keep an eye on Sunday's big Ligue 1 Conforama clash in Marseille, where any points taken could prove crucial in the 19th-placed club's bid to beat the drop.

Falcao absent

In terms of positives, Monaco won through to the Coupe de France round of 32 with a 1-0 win over fifth-division Canet-en-Roussillon but, on top of his lengthy injury list, Henry also has to do without captain Radamel Falcao, absent due to a family bereavement.

However, he could well hand Croatia 'keeper Daniel Subasic a first start since 7 October, when Monaco lost 2-1 to Rennes in Jardim's last match in charge, and bring some much-needed experience into his re-worked XI as the club waits on newly signed veteran Brazilian defender Naldo to reach match fitness.

Rennes out to continue run

Meanwhile Rennes boss Julien Stéphan - who earlier in the season was a leading candidate to be Henry's assistant at Monaco - is riding high with a run of six-straight wins since taking the reins from Sabri Lamouchi on 3 December.

The young coach, whose side played 120 minutes before winning their Coupe de France round of 64 clash with Brest on Sunday, is tipped to field a more-or-less full-strength line-up, with the in-form Hatem ben Arfa in the role of playmaker.

Probable teams

AS Monaco: Subasic; Henrichs, Glik (c), Badiashile, Barreca; Tielemans, Aït-Bennasser; Grandis, Diop, R. Lopes; Sylla

Stade Rennais FC: Koubek; Traoré, Da Silva, Mexer, Bensebaini; Grenier, André (c); Sarr, Ben Arfa, Bourigeaud; Siebatcheu