Oscar De Marcos Returns To Training Ahead Of Basque Derby
The international break has come to a close and even though there hasn’t been club football for two weeks a lot has happened at Athletic. There have been several injuries throughout the squad and, while some players have returned, Gaizka Garitano will be tasked with putting together the best possible lineup for Sunday’s Basque Derby at El Sadar.
Gorka Guruzeta and Unai Núñez both left training early at the beginning of the week and while Núñez returned the following day, Guruzeta has yet to do so and will miss this weekend’s trip to Osasuna. Aritz Aduriz will also be unavailable as he continues to nurse a hip injury. Meanwhile, Beñat has been back with the group for several days after missing a month with an ankle injury and could feature on Sunday.
The worst news came on Wednesday when Iker Muniain had to be helped off the training field with an apparent muscle injury. After tests, the club confirmed that the captain had sustained a Grade II hamstring strain that will keep him sidelined until January. Muniain will be a massive loss for the team and a difficult player for Garitano to replace.
In a bit of good news, Oscar De Marcos was able to return to training on Thursday. The 30-year-old had missed most of the week while dealing with an ankle injury but has now been cleared to play against Osasuna. Whether or not he will feature remains to be seen, but it’s certainly positive for another player to be made available during a week with so many injuries concerns.
Sunday’s match at El Sadar will be one of the biggest games of the year and, quite possibly, the most challenging test for Garitano so far this season. The manager found the answer to the team’s scoring problems by playing Muniain through the middle but that will no longer be an option. Garitano must find a new solution.