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No Cavani as PSG start Coupe defence

Publish on 06/01/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Holders Paris Saint-Germain head the list of 12 Ligue 1 Conforama clubs embarking on their Coupe de France campaign on Sunday. PSG coach Unai Emery will have to make do without star attacker Edinson Cavani.

Stade Rennais FC - Paris Saint-Germain

Three-time defending champions Paris Saint-Germain kick off their trophy defence at Rennes on Sunday evening in the round of 64. PSG have won the competition a record 11 times and will be confident of advancing as they return to a stadium where they won 4-1 in Ligue 1 Conforama on December 16.

PSG coach Unai Emery said: "We played Rennes a few weeks ago in the league but this is a different match. We will prepare for this game in the best-possible way to play a competitive 90 minutes. We are already beginning preparations for the Champions League last 16 we want to go all the way in the Coupe de France."

PSG have not lost in the Coupe de France since going down 2-1 to Montpellier in the round of 32, winning 18 Coupe de France ties in a row and scoring 51 times with only six goals conceded in that terrific run.

Edinson Cavani is not in the travelling party following the club top scorer's late return to training on Friday. Midfielder Javier Pastore has still not returned to the French capital following the winter break.

Rennes playmaker Yoann Gourcuff commented: "We're taking on the best team in France, possibly in Europe. We will try to trouble them and obtain the best possible result. We'll need to be solid as a team and play with the right attitude."

Rennes have been boosted by the return to training of Sanjin Prcic and pacy forward Ismaïla Sarr. Coach Sabri Lamouchi commented: "Ismaïla is our first signing. I think he needs space and to advance from a deep position. He can play on the left, on the right or down the middle but I think he's more dangerous when he can run with the ball rather than having to play back to goal. His return is great news for us."

RC Strasbourg Alsace - Dijon FCO

The other tie featuring two top division clubs takes place in Strasbourg, who escaped chilly Alsace to have a training camp in Spain. Coach Thierry Laurey said: "I've been a coach for some time now and I fell my major responsibility is the league as that's our daily bread, it's where the future of the club is at stake. The Coupe de France is more for the players. The round of 64 is perhaps the round where there's less squad rotation as the players are fresh and have had a week's training coming into it."

Dijon boss Olivier Dall'Oglio said: "this Cup game will launch the second half of the league season. Playing against a Ligue 1 club gives us motivation. There's more motivation than when you face a fifth-tier club. I'll be observing the attitude of my team."

Angers SCO – FC Lorient (L2)

Angers have named January signings Ludovic Butelle and Prince Oniangue in their squad. 34-year-old goalkeeper Butelle is set for a major role on his return to an outfit he represented between 2014 and 2016. Coach Stéphane Moulin said: "Alex Letellier and Mathieu Michel had their chance. But in the situation we are in we cannot afford to have goalkeepers who have been unable to establish themselves."

US Granville (D4) – Girondins de Bordeaux

Bordeaux are without injured centre-halves Igor Lewczuk, Vukasin Jovanovic and Olivier Verdon, while coach Jocelyn Gourvennec is set to push Jérémy Toulalan forward from the defensive role he's been filling this season. Gourvennec said: "We haven't found the right balance. With all the different options we have tried out in midfield, we haven't managed to replicate Jérémy's influence. We need to find a new balance."

USL Dunkerque (D3) – FC Metz

Jonathan Rivierez is suspended for the trip to Dunkerque, while new signing Danijel Milicevic has not been named in Frédéric Hantz's matchday squad. Metz have nine players missing through injury, while Julian Palmieri is ill.

Olympique de Marseille – Valenciennes FC (L2)

Olympique de Marseille coach Rudi Garcia said: "We need to target everything. You know the target that the president reminded everybody of (fourth place in the league). Our ambitions are unlimited, well they stop at second in the table because it's impossible to finish first. In the Coupe de France everything will depend on the draw. The Europa League is an interesting window for the club. We'll go flat out in everything."

US Municipale Senlis (D5) – FC Nantes

Nantes were the first Ligue 1 Conforama club back into training after Christmas. Coach Claudio Ranieri said: "I am ambitious and every match is an objective. I want my players to feel as though they are playing a final of the Champions League. I want that winning mentality."

Sochaux (L2) – Amiens SC

Amiens boss Christophe Pelissier will rest star player Gaël Kakuta ahead of facing Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue on Wednesday. Pelissier said: "Sochaux, thanks to beating Clermont, are back in the play-off race in the league. They play good football and they're an attacking team. It will be a difficult game."

FC Still 1930 (D8) –  ESTAC Troyes

Still are the lowest-ranked club left in the competition following Houilles' elimination on Saturday. Troyes coach Jean-Louis Garcia said: "It's a great pleasure for us to be taking on this team and they were very happy with the draw as they're playing against a Ligue 1 team."

AS Saint-Etienne – Nîmes Olympique (L2)

Robert Beric, recalled from a loan at Anderlecht, is in the ASSE squad, while Romain Hamouma has recovered from the injury he sustained in the derby humiliation at the hands of Lyon. Club captain Loïc Perrin and Kevin Monnet-Paquet are both still absent.