Roma are preparing to enter the most crucial stretch of their season which begins on Sunday evening when they travel to Liguria to face-off against Spezia.
Still unbeaten since the beginning of the new year, the Giallorossi face four key fixtures across three competitions over the next two weeks, including a league showdown against league leaders Napoli.
Given their packed schedule, an unwanted distraction arose before Sunday's clash due to Nicolo Zaniolo's bombshell decision to sit out the match.
The attacker has been the subject of transfer rumors and informed manager Jose Mourinho and executive Tiago Pinto he wasn't mentally prepared to contribute.
Despite Zaniolo's decision, the Special One will task Paulo Dybala and Tammy Abraham to carry the Giallorossi's attack after the pair caused chaos last weekend in their 2-0 win over Fiorentina.
Hosts Spezia enter the affair in impressive and have a chance to extend their unbeaten run in Serie A.
Luca Gotti's side haven't lost a league match since November 5th in their 2-1 loss to Milan.
The Ligurians have been very solid defensively in recent weeks, conceding only 4 goals in their previous five league fixtures.
Though, their defensive solidity unraveled on Thursday when Atalanta hammered them 5-2 in the Coppa Italia.
“Obviously I can try and steer the game in the direction I want to, but Roma can easily change your gameplan," explained Gotti during his pre-match press conference.
"They have very strong players, they are a team that is extremely dangerous on set pieces, and when they choose to counter attack they have extraordinary quality going forward.”
“As a team we must brace ourselves and provide good zone coverage. Roma have scored 12 goals in the last half hour so far this season, seven in the last minutes. I will also have to consider the substitutions which can prove crucial as the game goes on,” he concluded.
Kick-off is scheduled for 18:00 CET at the Stadio Alberto Picco in La Spezia.
SPEZIA (3-5-2): Dragowski; Amian, Caldara, Hristov; Holm, Bourabia, Ampadu, Zurkowski, Reca; Verde, Gyasi
ROMA (3-4-1-2) Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Celik, Cristante, Matic, Zalewski; Pellegrini; Dybala, Abraham