Oihan Sancet Returns To Training After Passing PCR Tests
La Liga will officially begin in just nine days. Athletic will play the opening game of the season next Friday against Granada, but the Lions could be without a number of key players. Six players initially tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of preseason training and, along with a few injuries, Gaizka Garitano may be in a difficult situation ahead of the trip to Los Cármenes.
A total of 11 first team players were unavailable for Saturday’s friendly against Logroñés. The same players missed today’s match against Alavés, but the manager hopes to have most back before the start of the La Liga season.
Iñaki Williams, Iñigo Córdoba, Unai López, and Unai Núñez have all passed the necessary PCR tests and were incorporated back into the group on Monday. Today, Oihan Sancet was also cleared to begin training following his tests and worked with the players that weren’t called up for the friendly against Alavés.
“Today is his first day and now he has to be here, living practically all day at Lezama in the morning and afternoon,” Garitano said about Sancet after the win over Alavés. “Perhaps he won’t be ready for the first game, but he will try to be ready by the third.”
Athletic’s second game of the season, a home match against Barcelona, has been rescheduled to January with the Catalan side being given more time to rest after being involved in European football so late into the summer. Following the league opener against Granada, Athletic will have two weeks until the next fixture which will see the Lions play the first Basque Derby of the season against Eibar at Ipurua.
With Sancet back in training, Gaizka Larrazabal is the only player left that needs to pass PCR tests to be cleared. On the other hand, Iñigo Martinez and Mikel Vesga have both returned after recovering from injuries with Peru Nolaskoain and Yuri Berchiche expected to be cleared before the start of the season. Ibai Gómez will miss the opener as he continues nursing a fractured clavicle.