Preview: Villarreal B-Recreativo Huelva

     The first team has had a fine season, but Villarreal's B team is in danger of being relegated from the Segunda Division A.  We knew when the season started with Montero, Ruben, Joan Oriol, Matilla and others promoted from the first team, it was going to be a tougher season than last, but the Baby Submarine was sitting comfortably just off the promotion spots for much of the year before sinking in the last couple of months.

     Javi Gracia's tenure was marked by a marked failure to score goals, and the team often looked disjointed in attack.  New coach José Molina seems to at least have the players on the same page, and he's gone with two strikers most of the time, giving Airam Cabrera a start alongside Nicki Bille.

     Unfortunately, Molina hasn't yet had all of his best players available, and he won't this time either, as Iago Falqué and Hernán Pérez are both still out.  So are Mano, Thiago Dutra, Nico and Truyols.  On the other hand, Mario Gaspar, who played so well this year for the first team, has dropped back to the B squad to help out, as has Wakaso Mubarak.  And Gerard Bordas is over his stomach problem and should be fit to play.

     Recreativo has a long history--in fact, it is the oldest professional football team in Spain, and their blue and white colors derive from the Scottish flag (the team was founded by two Scots doctors working for the Rio Tinto mining company.  It has been in the Primera for only five seasons, though, most recently from 2005-2008.

    Despite that short history in the top flight, Recreativo has done something Villarreal has not--play in the final of the Copa del Rey ( losing to Mallorca 3-0 in the 2002-03 final).  And Villarreal fans may remember Recre was the club a certain Santi Cazorla played for in 2006-07 before being bought back by Villarreal.

    What about this year?  Well, Recre are comfortably in mid-table, neither going up nor down this time.  They defeated the Baby Submarine 2-0 when the clubs met in Andalusia in January.  Recre have the stingiest defense in the division, allowing only 35 goals in 40 matches, but they've only scored 44.  And they have a sort of neat away record: they are 5-10-5 on the road, 21 goals scored, 21 conceded.

     Villarreal B's record also has a sort of elegance, in a not good way: they have won 7, drawn 3, and lost 10 at home, and have the same record on the road.

     The Segunda in a snapshot: three teams (Albecete, Ponferradina, and Tenerife) have already been relegated.  The remaining relegation spot will go to one of the following:

     Salamanca: currently on 45 points, play away to Barcelona B tomorrow, finish up with Numancia at home.

     Gimnastic Tarragona: on 45 points as well; they host Albacete tomorrow and finish at Ponferradina.

     Villarreal B: on 48 points, they host Recre and then play Betis on the road.

A win would be great, a draw very helpful.  The club is again asking for people to come out and support the team.  Let's hope for a result tomorrow and some help from the cantera at Barca, at least.  Endavant!

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