100 fans in an official squad photo for the season | CATA GUASP

Real Mallorca face struggling Galician side Lugo in the Son Moix this Sunsay– kick off 18:15 . With just nine games left to play in La Liga SmartBank, every fixture has now become an all-out battle between the top three clubs : Espanyol with 67 points, Mallorca 65 and Almeria on 60.

As I said on Tuesday, Mallorca’s run-in, on paper, looks to be the easiest, but that means nothing if we don’t get the required results in what is being described as the most important phase of the season.

Today we can have no excuse as we face a Lugo team in free fall. They’ve lost their last five games and haven’t won since January 23. There’s a very good chance that their second coach of the campaign could well be heading for the exit door tomorrow morning.

We play immediately after the Zaragoza/Almeria game this Sunday, so we’ll know exactly what we have to do. Espanyol kick off at 9 pm against fourth-placed Leganes. Today sees the 34th fixture in La Segunda and is one of our remaining four home games in Palma.

It’s been a bit of a reversal in the form of Real Mallorca as we were more or less invincible away from home before New Year. Then we came unstuck at sporting Gijon in February followed by a 4-1 drubbing against Fuenlabrada.

Last week’s 1-1 draw at Las Palmas steadied the results on the road as our home form has picked up dramatically with the exception of a 1-2 defeat to Espanyol in February.

For Sunday’s game our coach Luis Garcia Plaza has more or less everyone fit and firing. At last it looks likely Galarreta will have some game time after being out injured since 21st February.

His projected return is indeed good news because he covers a lot of ground in midfield and his participation gives the team more balance. Together with Salva Sevilla they give our midfield a dominating presence without detracting from the effort of Baba whose put in several good shifts replacing Galarreta.

His distribution is better as Baba tends to give the ball away too often. Back from suspension come Antonio Raillo and Brian Olivan, and the rest of the initial line-up shouldn’t be too dissimilar from the one that gained a valuable point at Las Palmas in a complex match.

The automatic top two promotion places are getting closer and closer and my fingernails are getting shorter and shorter. Three points today is a good opportunity to take another giant step back to the promised land.

Our third-choice centre-half 26-year-old Buenos Aires-born Franco Russo signed a new contract which sees him stay here until 2024. He’s been more than a capable stand-in for Raillo and Valjent this season and joined Mallorca in 2018.

After a year out, club mascot Dimonio gets back into action

At the usual “remote” press conference, coach LGP said Mallorca must stay focused on the games in hand. “We are not thinking anything other than beating Lugo and if we win it will be another step forward. They are one of the tallest sides in this league with several players well over 6 feet so we mustn’t give away too many set pieces.”

For the first time in over a year, Real Mallorca’s players and coaching staff were joined by 100 fans in an official squad photo for the season. A raffle was organised among our season ticket holders and 100 lucky fans were selected.

All Covid precautions were strictly adhered to as fans entered by three separate entrances and a safe distance was in place between them and the players sitting down. One lucky lady from our “gang” of ex pat supporters was long-time season ticket holder Barbara Barlow from Palma Nova. She thoroughly enjoyed getting back into the ground again and being part of the occasion.

PS Klopp has a pop ! What is it with top football managers being such bad losers ? Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have been well known for pulling a face after losing and neither of them could be classed as magnanimous in defeat.

Now Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has joined the whingers after his Liverpool side lost their Champions League quarter final first leg 3-1 to Real Madrid. In his post-match press conference, he had a “pop” at the venue, criticising the use of the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano complex instead of the Santiago Bernabeu which is being upgraded.

Klopp said it “felt strange” for his team to play at such a venue, claiming the second leg would be held at a real stadium – Anfield ! The training ground pitch has exactly the same dimensions as the Bernabeu and has never been an issue all season long until Tuesday night. With Liverpool being outclassed in every department, I wonder what the next excuse could be ? How about “the colour of the ball affected the result” !!

AND FINALLY, a guy goes to the post office to apply for a job. The interviewer asks him “Are you allergic to anything ?” He replies “Yes, caffeine. I can’t drink coffee.” “OK, have you ever been in the military service ?” “Yes,” he says “I was in Iraq for one tour.” The interviewer says “That will give you 5 extra points toward employment.”

Then he asks “Are you disabled in any way ?” The guy says “Yes. A bomb exploded near me and I lost both my testicles.” The interviewer grimaces and then says “Okay. You’ve got enough points for me to hire you right now.

Our normal hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm. You can start tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., and plan on starting at 10:00 a.m. every day.” The guy is puzzled and asked “If the work hours are from 8:00 to 4:00, why don’t you want me here until 10:00 ?”

“This is a government job,” the interviewer explains. “For the first two hours, we just stand around drinking coffee and scratching our balls. No point you coming in for that.”