It is an agenda full of friendlies, with West Ham, Athletic Bilbao, Lecce and Cremonese, the four tests that starting from Saturday and until 29 December will mark Udinese’s approach march to the resumption of the championship on 4 January in Friuli with Empoli, but also of illustrious names with all the injured still to be recovered, the one on which Andrea Sottil has noted his personal timetable.
For heaven’s sake, nothing to do with the various current expenses of everyday life, indeed in this case it’s quite the opposite, considering that the Udinese coach can’t wait to be repaid for the stolen goods with which bad luck robbed him of five players from mid-October onwards, thus depriving Udinese of showing up in full force in the last few days played before the break.
Calendar in hand, Sottil’s accounts will only come back at the beginning of January for the first three-point game of 2023 with Empoli, as the coach himself anticipated last Saturday at the end of the test played with Tabor Sezana, also announcing that Rodrigo Becao and Gerard Deulofeu – who returned to racing yesterday at Bruseschi after the slight sprain suffered in Naples on 12 November – will only return to the group in the last 15 days of preparation.
It goes without saying that the next four weeks will be crucial to find and properly recondition the other long-term patients not yet mentioned, namely Bram Nuytinck, Destiny Udogie and Jean Victor Makengo.
And here it must be said that none of them are expected to return on Saturday, at 3pm in Friuli against West Ham, in the first luxury friendly under the Rizzi arch.
Those who access Friuli on Saturday (pre-sales open at the stadium box offices and on the Ticketone circuit) will therefore find a Udinese team that is still incomplete, “enriched” only by the return of the internationals, the Slovenians Jaka Bijol and Sandi Lovric, the German Lazar Samardzic and the Macedonian Ilija Nestorovski, who have returned as a group since Monday.
The first returns of the long-term patients are instead scheduled for the following friendly match with Athletic Bilbao, because for 8 pm on Saturday 17 Sottil will finally be able to meet again Bram Nuytinck and Destiny Udogie, expected as a group from Monday, together with that Enzo Ebosse who participated at the World Cup with Cameroon, playing the last game with Brazil.
As you will recall, Nuytinck was injured last November 7 in La Spezia, having to leave in the final minutes due to a severe knee contusion, while Udogie played his last match on October 30 in Cremona, missing the next four due to a slight flexor strain.
They will therefore be the first injured to return, those who will also find the company of Jean Victor Makengo in the following appointment, on December 23rd in Friuli with Lecce. His lack of use in the league against the Salento players on 4 November last year was mysterious, despite being on the list, but then he himself clarified, announcing his return to 2023 on Instagram, announcing the stop due to inflammation tendon that he lived with in the fall.
As announced, the last to return will be Becao, absent since last October 16 due to a right flexor strain suffered in the match against Lazio at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, and Deulofeu. Sottil will have both of them available for the 29th in Cremona, where it is probable that they will play part of the match.