Our mid-table obscurity is under threat as teams below us are catching up fast on the rails. Included in our recent slump was an embarrassing home defeat (0-1) to bottom, and virtually relegated, Elche a few weeks ago.
Along the way the once-impenetrable defence have lost their reliability that characterised the brilliant start to the season. Our away form has imploded and we’ve lost six on the bounce. We’ve still got salvation heavily in our sights but we mustn’t slip up, especially at home to teams like Osasuna who are two points above us on 34. If we win three or four of our last six home games, then we should be safe. The goal is to reach 41-42 points.
Friday night’s opponents have had a great campaign so far as they chase a European place and face At. Bilbao next Tuesday in San Mames in the Copa del Rey second leg semi final. They go into that game 1-0 ahead. The good news is that the visitors’ star player Chimy Avila will be out due to injury while Darko is suspended.
Centre back David Garcia, who gained his first cap for Spain in Glasgow on Tuesday night at the age of 29, will probably be “Jock-shocked” after they lost 2-0! Our ex striker Ante Budimir makes his first appearance here since he left under a cloud two years ago to join Osasuna. He forced his exit by going on strike and there’s every chance he’ll have a hostile reception from home fans.
During the week our coach Javier Aguirre had just 16 players on the training ground due to international commitments. Most of them returned unscathed, the only exception being Swedish left back Ludwig Augustinsson who had to leave the Swedish camp with an ankle problem. Both Kang In Lee and Gio Gonzalez were due back on Wednesday night after having been involved in a friendly between their respective countries South Korea and Uruguay.
The biggest handicap for these two could well be jet lag as they’ve had to fly 10,000 km and Seoul is seven hours ahead of us. What makes a win Friday tonight vital is that our next two games are away at Valladolid (April 9) and a reborn Celta Vigo (April 17).
It’s been 15 years since only five points have separated the bottom eight teams with just 12 games left. We have six games at home, Osasuna, Getafe, At. Bilbao, Cadiz, Valencia and Rayo Vallecano. We have to go to Valladolid, Celta Vigo, At. Madrid, Girona, Almeria and Barcelona.
Just over a year ago 64-year-old wily Mexican coach Javier Aguirre landed the job as Mallorca’s new coach. The previous incumbent and much-loved Luis Garcia Plaza was in trouble after six defeats in a row and our future in La Liga didn’t auger well. After a bad start including a 2-6 “gubbing” at the hands of Granada, Aguirre turned things around and following a nail-biting 0-2 win at Osasuna we stayed up.
Since then Aguirre has managed to get the best out of a limited squad and to date he’s played 39 games between La Liga and Copa del Rey, winning 16 drawing 6 and losing 17. He’s got a contract renewal on the table but is unlikely to put pen to paper until RCD Mallorca’s future is secure.
AND FINALLY – very old joke alert!
A guy goes into a pet shop wanting a puppy. The owner says “I’m fresh out of puppies, kittens, parrots and budgies, all I’ve got left is a brand new species – a talking centipede. They’re also handy around the house because of their multiple limbs. What’s more, they’re on trial, take it now and come back on Monday to pay, or return it if you’re not completely satisfied.” The man takes the talking centipede home for a trial. When he opens the box with it in, a little head pops up “Phew, that’s better. I’ve been stuck in that little box for nearly a week.” The man says “Wow, you really can talk, I’m amazed.”
The centipede replies “That’s nothing, I can do all sorts, try me.” So the man requests the centipede to being him his slippers. A short while later the centipede brings the slippers, putting them on the man’s feet. The man then suggests “Here’s five quid, nip down to the corner shop and get me a pint of milk, a loaf of bread and half a dozen eggs.” Half an hour goes by and the man’s getting worried about the little centipede out on the street. When he opens the door the centipede is still there on the back door mat. The man exclaims “What are doing here? You’ve been gone for half and hour and you haven’t left the house yet.” The centipede answers “Come on, man, gimme a break, I’m putting my trainers on!!!”
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Wow, scraping the barrel with that joke Monro!! You can do better than that.