Napoli are getting ready for their first foray in to this season's Coppa Italia, and their first stop on their title defense tour starts with Udinese coming to down on Thursday. With Napoli's focus largely on improving in the league, Rafa Benitez will be wanting to rest some of his key first-team players, and so it sounds like a fair bit of rotation is in order.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Manolo Gabbiadini is in line for his first Napoli start as one of the players likely to be brought in to the lineup, along with Jorginho, Duvan Zapata, Henrique Buss, and Miguel Britos. Marek Hamsik is also likely to start after being rested against Lazio last weekend in order to assure Napoli keep some quality and veteran know-how on the pitch.
Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon are among those most likely to head to the bench to get some rest before next week's league clash with Genoa. Also likely to take a rest is David Lopez, despite his far superior play than his midfield partner Walter Gargano in the last two and a half* matches they've played together. With Gargano suspended for yellow card accumulation against Genoa, the smarter play is to run him down now when he has a forced break coming up and let Lopez get fresh.
*Gargano was fairly decent in the first half against Cesena, but fell apart in the second half and hasn't found himself again since.
It'll be interesting to see how Gabbiadini fares in the side with more than half an hour to work with, though perhaps the more immediately important player to keep an eye on will be Jorginho. The Brazilian midfielder has been struggling for form for awhile now, leading to a now-protracted absence from the starting lineup. Napoli have been painfully feeling the lack of balance his absence creates, though, so giving him a chance to get properly back on his feet is a must.