Unai Núñez And Beñat Could Return To The Starting Lineup In Saturday’s Basque Derby
Athletic were back in training at Lezama on Wednesday after having the previous day off in a session that was open to the fans. Gaizka Garitano is currently getting the team ready for Saturday’s Basque Derby and those in attendance for the session were able to catch a glimpse of the possible lineup that will be fielded against Eibar. Interestingly, there could be some major changes.
The solid defensive partnership that has brought Athletic tremendous success over the past year could be altered this weekend. Unai Núñez was seen working extensively alongside Iñigo Martinez which suggests that he could actually start over Yeray in the clash with Eibar. Núñez played 45 minutes in Sunday’s loss to Real Betis and the belief is that he performed well enough to open the competition with Yeray back up.
Of course, there is no guarantee that this means Núñez will be in the lineup on Saturday. Yeray has been one of the best center-backs in La Liga this season and could very well retain his place alongside Martinez. Regardless, the fact that Núñez was training with Martinez at least suggests that Garitano is looking for ways to give the 22-year-old more minutes. The Copa del Rey, which begins in just a few days, could also be the solution for giving Núñez addition playing time.
Núñez may not be the only new face in the lineup this weekend. Beñat also worked beside Dani García in the double pivot with Unai López playing further forward in the attacking midfield role. Oihan Sancet has started the last three games in this position but struggled in the matches against Granada and Real Betis. Beñat, however, has recently returned to training following an ankle injury and has been eager to get back into the team.
Meanwhile, several players were still unable to train due to various injuries, Oscar De Marcos and Cristian Ganea (ankles), Aritz Aduriz (hip), and Iker Muniain (hamstring) were all apart from the group and have been ruled out for the Basque Derby. On the other hand, Raúl García will return to the lineup after missing last weekend’s match due to suspension.
Finally, Unai Vencedor spent the day training with the first team and could be included in the squad for this weekend’s match at San Mamés. The 19-year-old has been one of the best players for Bilbao Athletic this season and could have the opportunity to make his debut during the upcoming Copa del Rey game against Intercity where Athletic will be allowed to call up as many as six youth players.