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Merely a day after returning to San Siro, the starlet will feature from the offset for the hosts, as Massimiliano Allegri names a fairly strong XI for the visit of the new boys

AC Milan have given a start to returning midfielder Alexander Merkel for tonight's Coppa Italia clash with Novara.

The German youngster had only completed his move back to the club on Tuesday on loan from Genoa, but he has been immediately thrusted into the limelight by Massimiliano Allegri, who makes eight changes from the side that lost to Inter in the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday.

The casualties see Christian Abbiati, Gianluca Zambrotta, Ignazio Abate, Thiago Silva, Mark van Bommel, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all replaced by Marco Amelia, Daniele Bonera, Philippe Mexes, Luca Antonini, Merkel, Massimo Ambrosini, Filippo Inzaghi and Stephan El Shaarawy.

Meanwhile for the visitors Novara, Samir Ujkani, Giuseppe Gemiti, Leandro Rinaudo, Daniel Jensen, Marco Rigoni, Andrea Caracciolo and Giuseppe Mascara have been dropped in favour of Alberto Fontana, Matteo Centurioni, Santiago Garcia, Francesco Marianini, Simone Pesce, Pablo Granoche and Takayuki Morimoto.

The teams are as follows:

AC Milan (4-3-1-2):
Amelia; Bonera, Nesta, Mexes, Antonini; Merkel, Ambrosini, Nocerino; Emanuelson; Inzaghi, El Shaarawy

Subs: Roma, Taiwo, Abate, Cristante, Robinho, Pato, Ibrahimovic

Novara (5-3-2): Fontana; Morganella, Dellafiore, Paci, Centurioni, Garcia; Marianini, Radovanovic, Pesce; Granoche, Morimoto

Subs: Coser, Gemiti, Jensen, Mazzarani, Rubino, Jeda, Rinaudo