Raúl García One Step Closer To Returning, Asier Córdoba Trains With The First Team

Raul Garcia

Raúl García is close to returning to full training at Lezama (AS)

Athletic have yet to lose a league game under manager Gaizka Garitano. The Lions have played six so far, taking 12 points of a possible 18, and have put in great performances since the coaching change. Even more impressive, they’ve done so without two key players as Raúl García and Aritz Aduriz have both been sidelined for a few weeks with different injuries.

On Tuesday the pair were able to finally start doing some work with the ball at Lezama, but so far haven’t been cleared to rejoin their teammates in regular training. For Raúl García that day may be just around the corner. The midfielder did some intense running drills with the ball on Wednesday as part of his recovery tests and if all has gone well he could be back with his teammates on Thursday with a chance to be cleared for Sunday’s game against Real Betis.

Meanwhile, Aritz Aduriz was still forced to train apart from the group and wasn’t even seen on the field on Wednesday, most likely rehabbing inside the training center. Mikel Rico and Iñigo Lekue also worked with trainers as they are recovering from a ruptured tendon and lower back surgery respectively.

In preparation to play Real Betis, who use a five-man backline, Garitano led a scrimmage with the team playing against three center-backs. The goal is to have a plan in place to tackle the weak points in the defense and use it to their advantage. Afterwards the team split up into four groups to play smaller scrimmages with Bilbao Athletic’s Unai Etxebarria being called on as the fourth goalkeeper. Asier Córdoba, Iñigo’s little brother, spent the entire day training with the first team.

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