Iker Muniain Cleared To Make Return Against Sestao River
Athletic have had to make do without Iker Muniain for nearly two months after the captain suffered a hamstring injury during training in late November. It hasn’t been able to replace his quality, but Muniain is ready to make his return. The 27-year-old has been training normally with his teammates and it’s only a matter of time before he’s back on the field.
According to a report from Juanma Velasco of Marca, Muniain has already been cleared for this weekend’s Copa del Rey match against Sestao River. Muniain is expected to travel with the team for Saturday’s fixture and could see his first minutes of 2020 at some point during the game. Meanwhile, Aritz Aduriz will not be able to make the short trip to Las Llanas despite recently returning to training as well.
The striker has been following a personalized training plan and was absent from Lezama during Wednesday’s session. While he has been able to work with his teammates without any issues or relapses, the coaches believe that he needs more time before being ready to take the field again. Missing out on Saturday’s Cup match is disappointing but Athletic want to be certain that Aduriz is completely healthy when he finally returns.
Saturday’s match will give Gaizka Garitano the opportunity to rest several key players while also giving important minutes to others. Ibai Gómez, Iñigo Lekue, and Mikel Balenziaga are all expected to start the match and the Mister could also call up a number of youth players as well. Despite River being a club from the Tercera, Garitano is taking the game very seriously and even visited a match over the weekend for scouting. Athletic believe that they can challenge for a 25th Copa del Rey title this season and for that to happen they must defeat Sestao River to advance.