Andy Delort, Nice

Montpellier-Nice preview: Delort 'ready' for return

Montpellier-Nice preview: Delort 'ready' for return

Publish on 03/11 at 10:44 - I. HOLYMAN


Andy Delort can expect a raucous welcome when he returns to Montpellier with Nice on Saturday with the striker who struck the winner against Paris Saint-Germain aiming to fuel his new club's push for a UEFA Champions League spot (kick-off 5pm CET).

Montpellier vs. Nice


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Delort's late strike against PSG last Saturday took Nice into second place and one of the two automatic qualifying spots for the 2021/22 Champions League group stage. They stayed there thanks to Monaco's Sunday night victory at Marseille, which left OM in third, two points off Christophe Galtier's men.


Delort left Montpellier late in the summer transfer window having scored twice for the club in the opening rounds of the season. His departure left a bitter taste in the mouths of Montpellier fans, who will no doubt make him feel their resentment on Saturday.


WATCH: Delort's late winner against PSG





"There's nothing special about him going back there. He'll get the welcome that he gets. He's not the first and won't be the last to go back to his former club. He's ready for it mentally," insisted Galtier, who was instrumental in signing the former Ajaccio and Caen forward.


"He's just come off the bench to great effect against Paris. Andy is getting his rhythm back, he's scoring, like Kasper [Dolberg] when he comes on. That's the most important thing. After the international break, they'll play together. Amine [Gouiri] can't play every game."


Right-back Youcef Atal (collarbone) and left-back Jordan Amavi (knee) could both return after injury lay-offs as Nice seek to add to the 26 points — a tally bettered only by Marseille — they have picked up away from home this season.




"Montpellier beat us at home. They're a team with a lot of quality, with very good players. I'm thinking of Savanier, Mollet, Wahi, Germain and Ferri, for example," said Galtier, whose side were beaten by a Florent Mollet goal at the Allianz Riviera earlier in the campaign. 


"Montpellier get forward quickly, and are dangerous at set-pieces. We're expecting a great atmosphere, very 'south of France'. There's always a lot of fervour and passion at La Paillade."


That passion will certainly be on display for Delort, who has failed to score in his last three league games against Montpellier. But while the fans may focus on their former idol, the team would perhaps prefer they concentrate on backing them. 


Olivier Dall'Oglio's team have slipped into the bottom half of the table and are now nine points off fourth place after a miserable run of six defeats in their last eight league games, including three reverses in their last four home matches.


WATCH: Montpellier win at Nice earlier this season





"The main event is that Nice are coming to play here, not the return of Andy. We really need results. With that in mind, I expect us to be more solid," said Dall'Oglio, who admitted he was "a bit annoyed" after last weekend's 2-0 loss at Nantes that came on the back of a 4-2 defeat to Rennes.


"I expect the squad to react, even if it's not easy. We're coming up against a team that's full of confidence and is pushing for a place in Europe. That said, we have to propose something consistent over 90 minutes and more."


Montpellier, who have actually won their last four home games against Nice in L1, will be without former Liverpool and France international centre-back Mamadou Sakho (thigh) as well as ex-Arsenal and Juventus striker Stephy Mavididi (knee), but former Nice full-back Arnaud Souquet is available after serving a one-game ban.


Probable teams

Montpellier: Omlin; Thuler, Estève, Cozza; Sambia, Chotard, Ferri, Oyongo; Savanier (c), Mollet; Wahi


Nice: Benitez; Lotomba, Todibo, Dante (c), Bard; Kluivert, Rosario, Lemina, Thuram; Delort, Gouiri


>> MATCH PREVIEW: Lyon vs. Rennes