Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri admits he would rather Francesco Totti was unavailable for Roma in Monday's encounter.
The 37-year-old has belied his age with a series of fine performances for Rudi Garcia's high-flyers this season, but has been unavailable since early October with a hamstring injury.
But the veteran returned to the bench in Roma's 2-1 victory over Fiorentina last weekend and is in line to start against Milan.
And Allegri spoke of his admiration for the forward, and believes he is a role model for young players.
"Totti may be 37 but we will have to watch him very closely and that goes for Gervinho too," he said.
"Totti is an example to all young players on how to become a great player. I would prefer that Totti was not playing because he is the catalyst for their football and raises the quality level of the whole team.
"They are again getting the best out of Daniele De Rossi, while Gervinho has been an important signing. Adem Ljajic and Mattia Destro are promising young players, so they are a difficult team to face."
Allegri praised the job done by opposite number Garcia this season, with Roma going undefeated in their 15 league matches this season, with the side occupying second spot in Serie A.
But with just two fixtures remaining before Italy's mid-season break Allegri urged the side to find some momentum and improve on a meagre four league victories this term.
He added: "At the moment Roma are the strongest side in the league along with Juventus and they have only conceded five goals so it would be normal to find a team like that in the top two in the league.
"It would not be bad to get to Christmas with two good results. It is an objective we ought to put in our minds, as we only have 18 points and need to be more consistent.
"We need to be compact, efficient and make the most of our chances. Of course, to get a result you need to play good football too, but without those concepts you do not get victories."
|2||M. De Sciglio|
|34||N. de Jong|
|Coach: M. Allegri|
for C. Abbiati 46'
for A. Poli 66'
for U. Emanuelson 89'
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