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MATCH PREVIEW: Coventry City v Chievo Verona - Sky Blues face the Serie A side tonight on the Italian pre-season tour

23 July 2014

Find out who are the players to watch from Chievo and the connection between City and the Venetians...

Coventry City continue their pre-season tour of Italy with a tough game against Serie A side Chievo Verona, kick-off 5pm (UK time).

The Sky Blues kicked off their pre-season tour of Italy on Monday with an impressive win over AS Roma B as new signings Shaun Miller and Danny Pugh both scored in the 2-0 victory.

City will face a much more difficult test against the 'Gialloblu' this evening as the Serie A side are expected to field a first-team side. 

Overview

Chievo Verona are the perennial underdog in Serie A, who continued to defy the odds last season by securing safety in the Italian top flight with two games remaining. 

The Italian side will start their seventh straight season in Serie A in August, a great achievement for a club which averaged a gate of just over 10,000 for last season.

Chievo achieved 16th place in the Serie A, with 36 points, despite being in the bottom three for much of January and February.

Chievo boss Eugenio Corini is currently in his second spell at Verona having been brought back to the club four months after he was sacked in November 2013 after a poor start to the 2013/14 Serie A season under current Watford manager Giuseppe Sannino. 

Who to watch

Perparim Hetemaj

The Finnish international has been a consistent starter for the Venetians since he joined the club from Brescia in 2011.

The all-action midfielder has made 98 appearances for the Serie A side and whilst he isn't afraid of a tackle, he often sets up goal-scoring opportunities, claiming four assists last season.

Not known for his goal-scoring prowess, Hetemaj's form was central to Chievo staying in Serie A last season, playing crucial roles in wins over Inter Milan and Cagliari in the final two games of the season. 

City should brace themselves to see a few tackles flying about though, as Hetemaj picked up 12 yellow cards last season. 

Maxi Lopez

The former River Plate and Barcelona striker signed a one-year deal with Chievo in June as the Venetians look to strengthen their forward line ahead of the 2014/15 Serie A season.

Lopez struggled for regular first-team football since he joined Barcelona in 2005 but after a successful loan spell at Brazilian giants Gremio in 2009, the 30-year old has revived his career in Italy.

Lopez moved to Sicilian side Catania in 2010 and his form attracted the attention of AC Milan, who signed him on loan in 2012. 

After two successful loan spells at Sampdoria, Lopez signed for Chievo and is expected to lead the front-line next season.

Alberto Paloschi

The 24-year old striker had his best season in Serie A last year, scoring 13 goals in 34 appearances for Chievo.

The Italian striker came through the ranks at AC Milan and made his debut for the Serie A giants in 2007, scoring on his debut against Catania in the Coppa Italia.

With first-team opportunities difficult to come by at Milan, he moved to Parma in 2008 where he helped the club return to the Serie A in the 2008/09 season. 

After a short stint with Genoa, Chievo picked up Paloschi in a co-ownership deal with AC Milan. On the back of Paloschi's form last season, Chievo purchased Milan's 50% share in the player for €3 million this summer.  

Connection

Lilian Nalis

The former French midfielder, who played for 13 professional clubs during his 18-year career, enjoyed short spells at both sides.

After a successful spell at Bastia in France, Nalis moved to Chievo Verona in 2002 but only made eight appearances for the Serie A.

Leicester City brought Nalis from Chievo in 2003 and he went to make over 60 appearances for the Foxes.

Nalis signed for Sheffield United in 2005 but was loaned to Coventry City after losing his place in the side and he made six appearances for the Sky Blues, scoring two goals. 

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