AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli said veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic could make his long-awaited return from injury in his side's top-of-the-table clash with Napoli.

Two of Serie A's top three go head-to-head in Naples on Sunday, where the victor will climb back to the top of the table above champion Inter Milan.

Milan could get a welcome boost and be able to call upon Ibrahimovic for the first time since late January as he has recovered from an Achilles injury. The 40-year-old is still the club's joint top goalscorer in Serie A with eight goals.

"Ibra is better," Pioli told a news conference on Saturday. "He trained with us both yesterday and today and will probably be there tomorrow."

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Milan had led the way until the last few weeks, but two draws against teams it would expect to be beating - bottom side Salernitana and Udinese at home - have let Inter and Napoli climb above it.

Pioli was wary of the task facing his team in the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on Sunday, against a manager - Luciano Spalletti - he has never beaten as a coach in all competitions.

"Sooner or later the victory against Spalletti will have to come. Let's hope it is sooner than later," he added.

"We have come a long way as a team and now there are 11 games left. We have to be satisfied, but from now on all the games will be so crucial and they have to be faced with a lot of focus and conviction.

"Napoli are in great shape, they have great quality but we have it too. We have to play with great strength on Sunday."