Squad news

THINKING OF ATHLETIC

01 Jan 2015
Lucas Pérez and Sidnei will be the two casualties for the first game in 2014. Lopo is doubtful. It has been a cold an intense week and the coach is again on the spotlight. Athletic Bilbao are missing key players for the game at the Riazor.

The first team returned to train on this week after the Christmas break. After the defeat against Villarreal CF there are new rumours pointing to the exit of Víctor Fernández in case of not clinching a victory in the home game against Athletic Club (Riazor, Saturday, 22h00 CET).

But there’s a more relaxed environment at Abegondo compared to the home games against Valencia CF and Elche CF, matches in which the job of the coach was also at stake. Now the vacation period and the same weather conditions are calming everything.

At some point the temperature has been below the -2 degrees Celsius and the trainings on Tuesday and Wednesday were delayed to 11AM as the pitch was frozen (Tuesday was considered to be the coldest day in Galicia during 2014). Still, the training sessions have been intense, with the players completing several physical routines and tactical sessions.

A novelty for this week is that, for now and until the winter arrivals and exits are completed, the first team is only composed by 24 players. Modibo Diakité left the club and said good-bye to his partners before the double trip to Malaga and Vila-real.

Ironically the team could be passing from a situation of excess of central defenders to only have one for Saturday. Albert Lopo didn’t train on Thursday as he’s dragging a muscle issue, and with Sidnei Rechel suspended then Pablo Insua was the only available centre-back. Fabril’s Róber Suárez was picked for the training session, though the doctors expect that Lopo will be available for the first game in 2015.

For now there are only two confirmed casualties for Saturday. The first one is winger Lucas Pérez, who remain training apart due to the knee injury that has been tormenting him during the past two months. He visited a specialist in Barcelona during the break and will continue working sidelined until the issues on his knee could be fully healed. The injury sustained in the game against RCD Espanyol wasn’t serious, the problem is that the player feels pain making some movements.

The other player out for the game is centre-back Sidnei Rechel. The Brazilian is now a fixed starter and will be a sensitive casualty in defense after picking the fifth yellow card on the season during the visit to Villarreal CF. Taking advantage of the situation he extended the vacation period and will join the team until Friday.



Toché during Monday’s session. The Murcian is set to lead the attack against Athletic


View from the frozen pitch at Abegondo during Tuesday



Víctor Fernández again on the spotlight before a home game



Sidnei before the Christmas break at Abegondo. He will return until Friday



Lucas, Laure and Toché visited a children’s hospital on Tuesday. A tradition in Christmas


At Athletic Club, the team didn’t fulfil the expectations in the last part of 2014 and is currently lying eleven points behind the European zone. The Basques are hurried in adding points and coach Ernesto Valverde is facing important casualties for the game.

Attackers Aritz Aduriz and Iker Muniain are suspended with five yellow cards, both are among the ten players with more minutes on the league season, in the case of Aduriz he has been directly involved in the half of the fourteen goals scored on the season (5 goals plus 2 assists)

Besides, there are two young players out after picking injuries in the last game against Atlético Madrid. Centre midfielder Ager Aketxe is dragging a muscle problem, while striker Guillermo Fernández picked an ankle sprain. The last one is an important casualty as he is the natural replacement of Aduriz.

At least right-back Andoni Iraola and midfielder Óscar de Marcos are back into contention after surpassing their muscle injuries. Centre-back Aymeric Laporte and centre midfielder Ander Iturraspe are also back after their suspension. It’s commented that 20-year-old Iñaki Williams could have the chance to play in the game, the attacker performed for 45 minutes in the 0-1 loss before Córdoba CF. The other choice is to play with ex-Alavés man Borja Viguera.

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