Osasuna v R. Sociedad preview
Jose Luis Mendilibar does not believe Osasuna has an advantage by playing Real Sociedad now.
Last Updated: 04/05/12 7:02pm
Osasuna manager Jose Luis Mendilibar does not believe his side has an advantage by playing Real Sociedad at a time in the season when the Basque side have little to play for.
The visitors are currently in 14th in La Liga and are mathematically safe from relegation, whilst the Navarrans are fighting for a European place, but Mendilibar thinks Sociedad's current seven-match unbeaten run shows they are still competing as hard as they possibly can.
He told the club's website: "Real Sociedad in the last game against Atletico Madrid in theory had nothing to play for and they equalised in the last minute against a team playing to be in the Champions League. You always know that the rival in front of you is capable of making things difficult.
"It will be a difficult match against a team that will play well because they are in form. If you don't press them then they are an opponent that can complicate things for you."
Mendilibar also has a host of injuries and suspensions to worry about as Damia Abella, Roversio Rodrigues and Dejan Lekic are all banned, whilst Sergio Fernandez, Masoud Shojaei, Kike Sola and Jon Echaide are still out injured.
Miguel Flaño though is back to full fitness and is expected to take Roversio's place in central defence with Ibrahima Balde deputising for Lekic in attack.
Sociedad boss Philippe Montanier meanwhile is looking to end the season with a rare away win. The Frenchman has seen his side improve greatly on the road in recent weeks but they still have not won away from San Sebastian since January.
He told a press conference broadcast on the club's website: "In the second half of the season we haven't won a single game away from home and tomorrow is the last chance in the Reyno de Navarra.
"It is a small pitch, with a warm atmosphere and against a difficult opponent who is fighting to be in the Europa League. It won't be easy, but we deserve a victory."
Top scorer Carlos Vela is expected to return to the starting line-up after he came off the bench to get the equaliser at Atleti on Wednesday and stretch his scoring streak to six in seven games.
Best bet: Osasuna to win -1 handicap - 21/10