Coming off a rare home win against Xerez, Jose Molina's Mini Submarine travels to Huesca to take on SD Huesca in a game between two of the Segunda's early stragglers.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Huesca is the bottom part of the table, frankly. The club was promoted to the Segunda for the first time ever in 2008 (the current club was only founded in 1960) and has finished 11th, 13th, and 14th in their three seasons since. Manager Quique Hernández (he's been managing in the lower divisions for thirty years now, at Castellón, Herculés, Recreativo, Lleida, Albacete, and many points besides) took over this fall and has a mix of veterans and youngsters at his disposal.
Some of you might remember Juanjo Camacho from his years in the Zaragoza system, or even from Scotland, where he played for Livingston between 2002-2004. More to the point, he's their main goal threat, with nine so far this season, and returns after missing their last match against Recreativo due to yellow-card accumulation.
Fellow midfielder Lluis Sastre came up in the Barcelona system; his brother Rafel played in the Primera for Sporting...and they do have a Brazilian midfielder, Gilvan Gomes, who has a couple of goals this season too. As for strikers, Tariq Spezie has scored a goal in each of their last two matches (come on, how many footballers do you know from Sharjah?) and fellow thirty-something Roberto has scored one this season. As for goalkeeping, Huesca have shared the role among three goalkeepers, all over 30 years old and veterans of lower divisions. (Bernardo did play for Alaves during their last Primera season, and Luis Garcia played for Zaragoza and Getafe some years ago).
Huesca's recent form has been good, in spite of their current 19th placing. They haven't lost in five matches, but only two of those have been wins. And they have only one home win all season.
Interestingly, our B team played a friendly at Huesca in August and lost 3-1. We'll hope it's different this time round. As for Huesca's ground, El Alcoraz, the excellent Estadios de Futbol site has all you need to know! It's not much bigger than our home ground, and from the photos is reminiscent of many lower-division English "stadiums".
Huesca is in Aragon, about 30 miles north of Zaragoza, about a four-hour drive from Vila-real. The town is about the size of Vila-real, actually, but doesn't have a larger town anywhere near it. The town existed in pre-Roman times, has a terrific 1th/14th century cathedral built on the ruins of a mosque (as so many were). Jumping forward a bit, Huesca was beseiged during the Spanish Civil War (by George Orwell, among others). The phrase "tomorrow we'll have coffee in Huesca" became a running joke among the Spanish Republicans, as reported in Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia", because the town never did fall in spite of the long siege.
Right, enough of that fancy history stuff and back to the football. Dervite and Thiago Dutra have fitness issues. Joselu is with the first team, and it looks like Castellani might be called up again as well, because he misses out here. Marcos Gullón and Jaume Costa, who were in the team against Mirandés, do return, and promising C-teamers Mano Trigueros and Gerard, who scored the goal at the end of the Xerez match, have been included. Here's the gang:
Goalkeepers: Mariño and Jorge.
Defenders: Kiko, Truyols, Toño, Jaume Costa, Lejeune and Pere.
Midfielders: Lucas Porcar, Marcos Gullón, Iriome, Toribio, Pedro Vázquez, Llorente and Trigueros.
Strikers: Kike López, Airam y Gerard.
Prediction: Both teams score more than a goal a game, and give up more than a goal a game as well. I'm going for a 2-1 win for the visitors, with Porcar scoring one goal and setting up another.
Hard to know at this point if there will be any streams: I'm not optimistic given there are six other noon kickoffs (6PM Spain) in the Segunda tomorrow.
Oh, and belated congratulations to Villarreal C, who defeated promotion contenders Alzira 3-0 on Wednesday.
Vamos Mini-Submarino!! Endavant!!