Athletic Club returned to training on Tuesday following their big 2-0 win over Real Betis over the weekend. The team was in good spirits after a great performance on Saturday and rightfully so. The only players missing were Mikel Balenziaga, who is still nursing a hamstring injury, and Raúl García who recently underwent a procedure to correct a mild cardiac arrhythmia and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. However, one more name was added to that list which doesn’t bode well for his chances to compete this weekend against Deportivo Alaves.
Iñigo Lekue pulled up injured during an attacking and defending drill and was seem limping off the field with obvious pain in his left leg. It seemed like a thigh muscle problem, but there is no way of knowing at this point. The 25-year-old was not able to return to the session but right now there is no word from the club on what the injury is exactly or how severe it may be. Hopefully it is nothing serious and he can be back in training very soon.
Meanwhile, Kuko Ziganda trained with three defenders flanked by two wing-backs, which is the same formation that got such a good result against Betis. He hinted after the game that the formation was something that he would consider in the future and it looks like he may repeat it on Saturday against Alaves. In training the back five remained the same other than Oscar De Marcos featuring in place of Lekue due to the injury and mostly because De Marcos is the established starter in the team. Mikel Rico and Beñat featured in front of the defense, just like they did against Betis, and afterwards Ziganda had a long talk with Beñat who looked very sharp in the session.
With only two games remaining on the schedule there isn’t anything left to play for this season other than pride. This weekend will be the final Basque Derby of the season and that is reason enough for the players to be motivated to go out and give their best. Everyone at the club continues to say that they want to finish the year in the best way possible and building off of their win over Real Betis would do just that. The club should announce something relatively soon regarding Lekue, but even if he is unavailable this weekend Ziganda will still be able to put a very strong lineup on the field.