Roma coach Rudi Garcia is hoping Mattia Destro's three-match ban will be reduced heading into Saturday's game against Atalanta.

The Giallorossi will only find out next week if their appeal against Destro's ban is successful.

The Italian forward was punished for hitting Cagliari defender Davide Astori in the face during Roma's 3-1 triumph in Sardinia last weekend.

Destro, who is Roma's leading scorer with 13 league goals this season, was also booked during the encounter which has resulted in a further one-match ban.

"Destro is not a violent player," Garcia said ahead of the game which is screened live on BT Sport. "Football is a contact sport and these actions take place.

"It's true that he hit his opponent in the face but the referee saw everything.

"In such cases, the rules clearly state that if the official saw the action there is no need for TV evidence to be used to determine the punishment.

"We are hopeful that his ban will be reduced.

"In any case, we have players that can replace Destro."

Roma captain Francesco Totti is expected to lead the team's attack alongside Gervinho and Adem Ljajic.

Garcia must also do without suspended midfielders Alessandro Florenzi and Miralem Pjanic as well as defender Mehdi Benatia, who is out for a month with a groin injury.

Despite those absences, Garcia expects his side to extend their four-match winning run and keep up the pressure on Serie A leaders Juventus.

The Giallorossi are second in the standings, eight points adrift of Juve, who visit Udinese on Monday.

"We are having a record campaign but it's not over," Garcia said. "The scudetto doesn't depend on us.

"We just have to keep our second place, win on Saturday and hope that other results, especially Juve's, goes in our favour."

Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono expects a response from his players at the Stadio Olimpico after last weekend's poor showing in their 2-0 defeat against Sassuolo.

The outcome halted the Bergamaschi's six-game winning run and dropped Atalanta to eighth place.

"We didn't play well against Sassuolo and we deserved to lose," Colantuono said. "On Saturday we have a very difficult game at Roma and I expect the best from my players."

The visitors will be without defender Cristiano Del Grosso, who must serve a one-match ban.