Real Mallorca play away at fourteenth-placed Numancia at their Nuevo Los Pajaritos stadium tomorrow (Sunday) at 7:15pm. It’s a lucky ground for the Palma side as we won there last May 2-1 in one of our few away successes. There’s expected to be an intimidating atmosphere as all 10,000 available seats will be filled after a free-ticket incentive was introduced. It also sees the inauguration of Numancia’s special heaters which have been installed on the underside of the roofs of the covered stands.
Mallorca will be hoping to bounce back after their “shock accident” home defeat to Bilbao Athletic last Sunday (a result that’s all but shattered any illusions of making a play-off place) and it’s yet another “must win” game. The situation isn’t made any easier by three players being suspended: two of them from vital midfield positions, Yuste and Sissoko.
Yuste only made a comeback last week after a one-game suspension then proceeded to get sent off again. German Under-21 international goalkeeper Timon Wellenruther won the “Muppet of the week” award and was very fortunate in only receiving a three-match ban after his sending off last weekend. Not content with having a tempestuous altercation with the referee which got him an early yellow card, he continued his grievances after the final whistle and in the tunnel, which gave him another two-game suspension. He’s also been fined by the club so hopefully he’s learned his lesson. Last week’s terrible referee, by the way, came from a place in Cantabria that’s only one hour’s from Bilbao. No wonder all the major decisions went against us.
Wellenreuther's absence leaves the door open for 34-year-old Jesus Cabrero, who hasn’t played since we lost away at Osasuna in November. There’s every chance if Jesus plays well, he’ll stay in the team, especially as Timon is most definitely in the dog house. His three-match suspension has given Mallorca a bit of a headache as third choice keeper Parera is out injured. In the squad is a rookie keeper called Benji, so it looks like the club will try and bring in a goalkeeper who’s out of contract. Ex-Mallorca stopper Tomeu Nadal, who’s a free agent, could well come in next week.
With Yuste and Sissoko missing, the game will see the return of local boy Damia Sabater, who’ll play alongside either Truyol or Kasim Adams. With the suspension of our main two midfielders and a setback for Alex Vallejo, who aggravated his recent cruciate ligament injury in training last week, we’re also short in the engine room and an out-of-contract replacement is being considered.
Mallorca appointed a new club captain on Friday after the previous one, Javi Ros, moved to Zaragoza. The Argentine centre-back Lucas Aveldaño will wear the armband for the rest of the season.
Going home tomorrow will be one of our new signings Oscar Diaz who was Numancia’s leading scorer before he moved here last month. Their president wasn’t happy when Oscar left and accused Mallorca of “buying their way out of trouble”. We did nothing wrong in the transaction and bought out Diaz’s contract for 250,000 euros, although the term “tapping up” comes to mind.