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Preview: Lorient vs. Dijon - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Lorient vs. Dijon - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Ligue 1 clash between Lorient and Dijon, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Having had their last two matches called off due to a major coronavirus outbreak, Lorient mark their return to action with a bottom-of-the-table clash against Dijon on Wednesday evening.

The rescheduled game was originally due to take place on January 17, and the visitors have since played out a 1-1 draw with Strasbourg ahead of this tie.

Match preview

As many as 22 positive COVID-19 cases were reported among the Lorient players and staff earlier in January - only a few months after fellow newly-promoted side Lens suffered a significant outbreak of their own.

Christophe Pelissier's side were unable to name 20 negative players for their proposed fixtures with Nimes and Dijon - two clubs who are also fighting for their Ligue 1 status at the foot of the table - but Les Merlus will be able to take to the pitch against the latter this week.

Pelissier will be hoping that his formerly positive cluster suffer no ill effects from their infections, as the club are rooted to the bottom of the table and six points adrift of safety, although they do have at least one game in hand over most of the teams above them.

Les Merlus kicked off the year with back-to-back defeats to improving Monaco and Bordeaux outfits, and the proposed clashes with Nimes and Dijon would have provided a fully-fit Lorient with the perfect opportunity to claim some much-needed points, but the hosts cannot dwell on what could have been before this fixture.

Lorient thrashed Nimes 3-0 in what has been their only home win from their previous eight attempts, but a ravaged Merlus side will at least leapfrog their fellow relegation rivals if they can get the better of Dijon at the Stade du Moustoir.

Dijon have undoubtedly demonstrated a new-found resilience since David Linares initially took over in November, and they are still unbeaten in the calendar year.

However, Les Hiboux are also yet to win in the calendar year, as their three fixtures with Reims, Marseille and Strasbourg have all ended with both sides claiming a point apiece, and it took a rare goal from Senou Coulibaly to salvage a draw against the latter at the weekend.

Having managed to take maximum points from a trip to Nimes just before Christmas, Dijon are now unbeaten in their last four league matches and find themselves in the relegation playoff spot, although 17th-placed Nantes are only three clear having played a game more.

Despite their defensive resilience, Dijon's 13 goals ranks them as the lowest scorers in the top flight, although they have only failed to score in one of their last five away matches in Ligue 1 - winning two and drawing three of them.

Furthermore, Les Hiboux are the only team whom Lorient have failed to get the better of in the top flight, and the most recent meeting between the two sides back in November ended goalless.

Lorient Ligue 1 form: WLLDLL

Dijon Ligue 1 form: LLWDDD

Team News

Formerly COVID-positive Lorient players such as Pierre-Yves Hamel, Julien Laporte, Yoane Wissa, Jonathan Delaplace and Adrian Grbic were all back in training for the hosts earlier this week and should be ready for starts.

However, the likes of Andreaw Gravillon, Paul Nardi, Vincent Le Goff and Laurent Abergel are uncertain having contracted the virus more recently.

Delaplace is fine to play in this one after serving a suspension against Bordeaux, but Armand Lauriente will serve a ban of his own this week.

Aside from the injured Anibal Chala and Yassine Benzia, Dijon have a fully fit contingent raring to go for this tie.

Minimal changes are expected from the visitors, who have proven incredibly difficult to break down in recent weeks, but Mounir Chouiar is expected to replace Frederic Sammaritano on the left-hand side.

Lorient possible starting lineup:
Nardi; Delaplace, Laporte, Chalobah, Morel; Monconduit, Lemoine; Diarra, Le Fee, Wissa; Moffi

Dijon possible starting lineup:
Racioppi; Boey, Manga, Coulibaly, Muzinga; Ndong, Cheikh; Ebimbe, Celina, Chouiar; Konate

We say: Lorient 0-1 Dijon

Lorient will still be without a number of first-teamers due to coronavirus and suspension, but there are no two ways about it - Pelissier's side simply have to win for the good of their survival prospects. However, they are unlikely to have any joy against a dogged Dijon side who are incredibly well-drilled at the back, so we expect a narrow away win in this rearranged tie.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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