Previewing Real Oviedo vs Athletic Club: Preseason Friendly

Young players will have more important minutes in Friday’s friendly (AC)

The preseason has only been underway for a few weeks, but it’s close to an end. Over the next two days Athletic will play the final two games of the summer starting with Friday’s trip to Real Oviedo. With the following game against Eibar being the last friendly of the summer, Gaizka Garitano called up 18 players for the Oviedo fixture with several starters left out of the squad.

Iñigo Córdoba, Unai Núñez, and Mikel Vesga return to the call. Vesga will see his first minutes of the summer after recovering from a muscle injury, as will Córdoba and Núñez who were among the six players that initially tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of preseason. Iñaki Williams and Unai López will take part in Saturday’s friendly instead. Having just returned to training, Oihan Sancet is likely miss through the start of the La Liga campaign.

Athletic’s visit to Real Oviedo will be another wonderful chance for young players to impress the manager. The starlets made the most of their opportunities in the previous two games. Oier Zarraga, Iñigo Vicente, and others have taken center stage and will be looking to build on the positive performances in what could be their last minutes of the summer.

A few players will also be under the microscope, beginning with Asier Villalibre and Kenan Kodro. The two forwards were poor in previous friendlies but can turn things around with a strong game. Others such as Ander Capa and Iñigo Lekue are still trying to find their rhythm ahead of next week’s La Liga opener.

The top priority in Friday’s friendly is coming away without any injuries and playing well. Ultimately, these games are about preparation, not necessarily outcome. The final result may not really matter, but a big victory will help build morale within the team.

Projected Athletic Club XI: Ander Iru, Ander Capa, Unai Núñez, Oier Luengo, Iñigo Lekue, Mikel Vesga, Unai Vencedor, Nico Serrano, Oier Zarraga, Iñigo Vicente, Asier Villalibre

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