Ibai Gómez Leaves Training Early With Muscle Injury
Gaizka Garitano put the squad through two training sessions on Tuesday after giving the players the weekend off. Athletic will also be off on Thursday, but Tuesday’s second session came with some news that could impact the team heading into this weekend’s match against Real Valladolid.
Yuri Berchiche continued to work with the ball at his feet, but did so apart from the group. The left-back worked with trainer Xabier Clemente, along with Gorka Guruzeta, and is expected to miss Sunday’s game as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder. Unless something changes, Mikel Balenziaga will start his second straight match as he fills in for Berchiche.
In other news, Aritz Aduriz did not come outside for the session but this comes as no surprise considering the fact that this was the second training of the day. Athletic have made it clear that they will be cautious with the 38-year-old’s workload and there is no concern of an injury or the striker being unavailable for Sunday’s match.
There is concern, however, over the availability of Ibai Gómez. The winger missed the team’s friendly tournament at Barakaldo last week with a muscle injury but seemed to have recovered as he trained normally on Monday. Doubts resurfaced on Tuesday when the winger was forced to leave training early due to discomfort. Gómez will be watched closely throughout the remainder of the week to determine whether or not he is cleared to play against Real Valladolid.
If Gómez is unable to play Garitano will have several options to choose from. Oscar De Marcos could start on the right wing once again or the manager could turn to Gaizka Larrazabal who has played well in his limited minutes. Either way, the Lions will be facing a strong defensive side in Real Valladolid and Garitano will need to get the selection right to give Athletic the best chance of taking all three points at home and ending their three game winless streak.