Mallorca’s captain Aveldaño starts Sunday's game. | T. Jaume


Real Mallorca, with nine games left to play and seven points needed to secure a place in next season’s La Segunda, face goal-shy Osasuna at Son Moix on Sunday at 7.15pm. It’s now got to a stage where it’s imperative we win our home games as the Palma side are still only four points off the relegation quartet. Two weeks ago we put on a brilliant second half showing to beat the then league leaders Leganes 3-0 in Palma, and another display like that tonight would be the dog’s dangly bits!

Last week we lost 2-1 away at Zaragoza, a game spoilt by a card-happy referee who sent off club captain Aveldaño, Yuste and goalkeeping coach Miki Garro. Mallorca appealed against the first two dismissals and the skipper’s red card has been overturned so plays tonight at the heart of the defence. However, Hector Yuste’s sentence remains, so he and Miki Garro have a two-match ban. Yuste’s terrible disciplinary record went against him and we’ll certainly miss his height at the back. It’s expected Biel Company will switch from full back into central defence with Campabadal taking the left back position.

The line-up should read Wellenreuther, Oriol, Campabadal, Aveldaño, Company, Sabader, Sissoko, Lago Junior, Colunga, Ortuño and Arana. That would mean in a season and a half we’ve played 65 games without repeating the same starting XI in consecutive matches. Coach Fernando Vazquez said at his weekly press conference on Friday: “We need a red hot atmosphere from the fans in a game where three points are very important.”

The opponents were one of the promotion favourites at the start of this campaign; indeed I watched them beat us 2-1 in Pamplona last November. They’ve now dropped down to seventh and have drawn their last three games 0-0. They’re ripe for the picking tonight. Vamos Mallorca!

News broke this past week that televised live football in Spain is to be taken to new dimensions next season. In 2016/17 the Spanish league will start rating its clubs financially in an effort to increase transparency and attract more investors. The league (LFP) want to boost TV audiences to both La Liga and Liga Adelante next season and will fine clubs that don’t reach their expectations. In an initiative called “audiovisual perception” a new set of rules is to be put in place, which includes things like quality of the pitch, lighting and, especially important, the number of spectators in the ground. The LFP will send inspectors to the various grounds twice throughout a season and if their evaluations are not up to standard, the clubs will be fined. A “grass inspector” will evaluate the state, uniformity and firmness of the grass before games.

Mallorca must improve the Son Moix playing surface during the summer, which will likely be relaid, because we’ve had some real problems with it this season. The average Son Moix attendance hovers around 8,000 and will have to improve considerably because, according to the new rules, the Tribuna Sol (facing the stand) area must be 75% full as the TV cameras will be predominantly focusing on this area. If it’s less than 50% then a fine is imposed, the idea being to make TV viewers think the ground is full-ish. There’s now talk about building another stand at the South end but just who sits in it is open to conjecture. Also (I can’t get my head round this at all) the floodlights have to be on even during a daylight game.

The smaller clubs in La Segunda who have tiny grounds are the likely beneficiaries of this new ruling and shouldn’t have too many problems filling a stadium which may only hold a quarter of the Son Moix’s capacity (23,000). The last time we had a full house in a league game was in March 2013, our relegation season. Mallorca lost 3-2 to Deportivo (who were coached by Fernando Vazquez). The club had been over-generous with the cheap tickets campaign and were fined because fans were sitting on steps blocking exits: they’d run out of seats.