Joan Oriol returns for the Tenerife match. | E.T.


Real Mallorca are on the brink of falling into the relegation zone of the Spanish second division and have a genuine six pointer tomorrow against Tenerife, 7pm at the Son Moix. The end of season nerves are set to start jangling for the third successive season as the long-suffering faithful have to go through another nightmare scenario with only a handful of games left. We're looking at Almeria and Ponferradina in our rear view mirror (they play Sunday), as they are equal with us on 40 points, but we have the better head to head. Almeria play away at Huesca and Ponferradina are at home to Lugo. We're relying on Huesca and Lugo to do us a favour.

Tenerife haven't won at the Son Moix since 1993, and tomorrow sees Mallorca, believe it or not, unbeaten for six games (mind you, we have drawn a few). A win will go a long way to deciding the fate of the club as they enter another torturous route on the road to salvation. Like any uncharted route, it's fraught with danger and uncertainty. After a truly shocking 1-0 defeat away at relegation favourites Albacete last Sunday, it's imperative the team gets the fans back on their side. Otherwise it'll be white hankies out again for the umpteenth time this season. To make matters worse, there was a training ground spat on Tuesday between coach Fernando Vazquez and striker Alfredo Ortuño which was captured by the IB3 TV news cameras. The Murcia-born striker has plenty of previous with coaches, mostly caused by attitude problems both playing and in training. He was offloaded by his parent club Las Palmas last summerm moving to Zaragoza. They discovered shortcomings, allowing him to come here in January. Ortuño is noticeably lazy during a game and doesn't put in the required amount of effort.

There's been a social media furore since last Sunday's defeat, with 67% of fans voting for Vazquez to be replaced by Olaizola. Two points from fifteen is just not good enough. The coach's task isn't made any easier by the fact that he hasn't got an assistant. He's trying to do two people's jobs, organising 24 players, trying to instil tactics, and keeping every player happy; it's all getting too much for the Galician. Every level of modern football has at least one assistant on the bench. On Thursday, it appeared Vazquez had lost interest and was sitting down talking to a member of staff, leaving the training session in the hands of fitness coach Jaume Moll. Ex-Mallorca player Lionel Scaloni, who now lives on the island, was reported to have put his name forward to help out. He made a very valid point by saying that Mallorca's players' problems are in their heads.

What we need to do tomorrow is keep it simple, keep lumping the ball into the Tenerife penalty area, route one football. Forget all this slow build-up and passing the ball backwards, we want to see attacking football. You can't score goals if the ball's not in a goalscoring position. It doesn't need rocket science to work that one out. It's come down now to a fine line between sinking or going “tetas arriba”, and we can't afford any slip-ups.

Ex-Mallorca player and captain, Palma-born Pep Luis Marti, is the coach of Tenerife and has transformed the Canary Islands side since he took over in early December. We were ahead of them then but Tenerife are now eleven points ahead of us. Maybe we should have given him the coach's job.