Sergio Kresic's plans to continue a Real Mallorca league revival will be put to the test this afternoon when the side visit John Toshack's rejuvenated Real Sociedad side. A less than convincing 2-0 victory over Tenerife last Sunday may have lifted spirits at the club, but Kresic won't be too enthralled about travelling to a rain-hit San Sebastian for a bottom of the table clash without seven of his squad. Seventeenth placed Sociedad are currently hovering above the relegation zone, one place above Mallorca, but have won their last three matches and will be looking to move further away from the bottom three, something made all the easier considering Kresic's injury problems. As well as long term injury victims Ariel Ibagaza, Vicente Engonga and Vicente Fernandez, Kresic will have to make do without defender Fernando Niño and striker Leo Biagini. The suspension of Javier Olaizola and the fact Fatih Akyel is away on Turkish international duty means not only is the defence sparse, but that Kresic has been forced to call up three players from the youth ranks; Amate, Viale and Guiza. With so many players out of action, Kresic will be stretched to formulate an aggressive game plan against Sociedad and it is likely he will opt for his favoured five man defence, moving midfielder Marcos Martín de la Fuente into central defence, alongside the returning Gustavo Siviero and Miguel Angel Nadal, and flanked by Miguel Soler and Alejandro Campano on the left and right respectively. Despite being recognised as a tough tackling midfielder Marcos was not worried about dropping back into defence. With (Jose) Camacho in Seville, I spent a lot of time as a central defender, and also as a full-back, said the Palma-born player yesterday. With Marcos in a more defensive role and Engonga injured, the midfield looks less than solid, especially if Kresic opts for Paco Soler over Julian Robles for the midfield holding role. The constantly improving Vlejko Paunovic and Alvaro Novo will play either side of midfield, while the ever-present Samuel Eto'o, who flies to Poland tomorrow to play for Cameroon, will partner Albert Luque up front. The one positive note for Kresic is the fact the team have had a week's rest for the first time since the season started, something the Croat believes has helped immensely.
This week I have had the time to talk to and watch the players and their fitness has improved greatly over the past few weeks.