SD Huesca will be on the hunt for all three points against Real Valladolid as the battle for survival in LaLiga begins to heat up.
For Huesca, their first ever campaign in the Spanish top-flight couldn’t have been much more of a disaster with the club bottom and already 11 points adrift from safety after 21 matches.
Sacking manager Leo Franco has failed to make the desired impact on the squad with his replacement Francisco claiming just a single win in his 15 games in charge.
The situation at Huesca has reached an alarming point with the season having now past the halfway stage and a win against Valladolid is a must if they are to mount any kind of comeback.
But confidence inside the Huesca dressing room will be low at the moment, which could invite Valladolid to inflict a 14th league defeat on them at the Estadio El Alcoraz on Friday night.
La Pucela scored a crucial 2-1 win against Celta Vigo last time out and moved four points clear of the relegation zone in the process.
After four seasons away in the second division, Valladolid are in no mood to return at the first time of asking and will be hoping to capitalise on their new-found confidence by securing back-to-back wins in LaLiga for the first time since October.
The last time these two sides met ended in a 1-0 win for Valladolid through a Rubén Alcaraz first-half goal at the Estadio José Zorrilla.
After holding Real Sociedad to a goalless draw last time out, Francisco may opt to start with five players in defence once again for Huesca or take a more offensive approach as this game is a must win.
But the Spaniard hasn’t had the easiest week in terms of preparation with defender Carlos Akapo struggling to train this week, which could leave the door open for new signing Javi Galan from Córdoba CF to make his debut.
Gonzalo Melero is expected to be sidelined for the foreseeable future, but Moi Gómez could make a welcome return for Huesca after shaking off a calf problem.
On the other hand, Valladolid will have to make do without the suspended Míchel Herrero for the trip to Huesca with Anuar expected to replace him in midfield.
Sergio González’s side suffered an unwelcome blow this week with Villarreal loanee Leo Suárez leaving them for second division side RCD Mallorca in another loan deal for the remainder of the season. Midfielder Antonio Cotán has also left Valladolid for a move down to the second division at Gimnàstic de Tarragona.
New signing Sergi Guardiola could be handed another start though after impressing in his debut last weekend but both Duje Cop and Ivi López are expected to be absent due to knocks they’ve sustained with Moi Delgado to be left out by Sergio for technical reasons.
Huesca (5-3-2): Santamaría; Miramón, Insua, Etxeita, Pulido, Galán; Moi Gómez, Rivera, Herrera; Gallego & Hernández
Real Valladolid (4-4-2): Masip; Antoñito, Kiko Olivas, Calero, Nacho; Keko, Anuar, Alcaraz, Toni Villa; Óscar Plano & Guardiola.
Huesca 1-2 Valladolid