Squad news

PREVIEW: DEPORTIVO – HERCULES (LIGA)

04 Sep 2011
Two of the candidates for the promotions spots collide at the Riazor; Oltra has problems on the wings and Colotto is a last-minute casualty; meanwhile Hércules is still trying to assemble the pierces at its team.

STATISTICS: THE BURDEN OF THE FAVOURITES
This is considered to be one of the most balanced confrontations that Deportivo will have on the season, these teams represent two of the three relegated clubs from Primera División and they began the season among the candidates to achieve the ticket back to the elite of Spanish football. And both squads showed their credentials as “favourites” in the first matchday as they won their encounters.

However, Depor and Hércules can’t be overconfident on their condition of favourites, mainly since they’re recently relegated clubs. Segunda is especially hard for the teams relegated from Primera in the previous campaign; within the last five years only Real Zaragoza was able to achieve the promotion in the first year at Liga Adelante (2008/09), but at the same time, in those five years, four recently relegated clubs went directly to Segunda B after just one year at Segunda A: Cádiz (2007/08), CD Alavés (2008/09), Real Murcia (2009/10), and CD Tenerife (2010/11). So the warning is very clear: watch your back as you look up.

Also, despite that both teams seem to have the same potential, the statistic demonstrate otherwise, because Hércules CF has only won once at the Riazor, and that success occurred at the Segunda season 1983/84 (1-0); since then the Valencians have visited La Coruña in eight opportunities and they lost all the encounters having a terrible balance of only three goals in favour plus eighteen goals allowed.

DEPORTIVO: BIG TEST FOR ZE CASTRO
On Saturday’s training, central defender Diego Colotto sustained a hamstring injury; new scans will be made on Monday, but the problem will force the Argentine player to miss, at least, the clash against Hércules CF. It’s an important casualty as he’s a pillar in the new project of José Luis Oltra. This setback pulls Ze Castro directly into the starting eleven for the match. The Portuguese defender has barely played within the last two seasons as he was overshadowed by Colotto and Albert Lopo.

Actually, last year was pretty negative for him. Ze Castro only played six liga encounters, four of them as starter and three of those matches meant big losses for the Galicians: 1-6 at Real Madrid (matchday 06); 0-3 at Real Sociedad (matchday 08), 2-2 Vs. Sevilla (matchday 21) and 1-4 at Getafe (matchday 22).

Now, the ex-Atletico Madrid central defender has a great opportunity to redeem himself; curiously on Friday the media was emphasizing the personal conversation that coach Oltra had with Ze Castro after the training session. Questioned about the event the coach commented that he was trying to assure that the player is “plugged” into the project. Now he will be a starter.

It isn’t the only problem of Oltra, the Valencian trainer also has problems at both wings as the two theoretical starters are also out of the meeting: Bruno Gama and Andrés Guardado. The Portuguese joined the training during this week after surpassing a groin injury, but it’s too soon for him and he should wait for next week. Meanwhile, on Friday Guardado played the full 90 minutes with Mexico in the 1-1draw with Poland, and today his country faces Chile in Barcelona. Their substitutes will be Asturian Saul Fernandez and Portuguese Diego Salomão.

The rest of the lineup should be the same 4-2-3-1 figure that achieved the first victory of the season over Recreativo de Huelva, with Daniel Aranzubia at the goal; captain Manuel Pablo performing on the right-back position, Aythami Artiles will join Ze Castro at the centre of the defense, and the left sector will be covered by Ayoze Diaz.

At midfield, Jesús Vázquez and Álex Bergantiños will be the two pivotes in the formation, while Juan Carlos Valerón will be the playmaker of the team. Finally Iván Sánchez Rico ‘Riki’ will be the central attacker.

The third player joining Bruno Gama and Colotto and the injury room is Borja Fernandez, while neither Claudio Morel, nor Diego Seoane, nor Rodolfo Bodipo were picked for the meeting. To mention that young playmaker Juan Carlos is serving his second match suspension after been sent off in Fabril’s last match of the past season.

Salomão talked before the game and he was skeptical about his appearance as a starter, ”I’m mentalized in case that the coach decides to put me into the starting team, but it isn’t a guarantee that I will play, anyway I am ready if he needs me. The league is tough, we are the team that everybody wants to beat at Segunda División, so the rivals are motivated when they face us. We must go out for the victory, but it won't always be easy.”

Dani Aranzubia was analyzing the meeting Hércules, "It won't be a definitive match, but surely it's important in order to achieve the second win at home. We have the casualty of Colotto and he is an important player for us, but surely the man replacing him is going to do a great job.”

Finally, Ayoze was emphasizing the importance of achieving the three points at the Riazor, “Our intention is to clinch the three points at home; it will help us to gain confidence and it will be pretty, but it won’t be easy and let’s hope that everything will be fine. Clearly they are a team that has made good signings and surely want to go up again, therefore it is a complicate rival and we need to do the right things in order to achieve the victory. Hércules could be a direct rival fighting for the promotion.”

List of picked players (18): Aranzubia; Lux (goalkeepers); Manuel Pablo, Laure, Ze Castro, Rochela, Aythami, Ayoze (defenders); Jesús Vázquez, Alex Bergantiños, Juan Dominguez, Valerón, Pablo Álvarez, Saul, Salomão (midfielders); Lassad, Riki and Xisco (strikers)

HERCULES: NEW TEAM, THE SAME GOAL
Alicante-based club Hércules CF fought hard for three years in order to achieve a promotion to Primera División, and once they clinched the goal, two seasons ago, they decided to think big and hired big guns in order to achieve the permanence, but the bad organization, bad coaching and the financial problems condemned this ambitious project. Now they’re back where they started, having the same economic problems, forced to build up a new team, but having the same goal: to return to Primera as soon as possible.

And the club made a complete facelift, first Perfecto Palacio accepted the role of president and he hired former player Sergio Fernandez as the new sporting director, and this last one convinced Galician trainer Juan Carlos Mandiá, who already coached the team in two previous opportunities, to take control of the first squad. Then they made a radical change to the team.

Hércules made sixteen signings –the highest number at Segunda together with FC Cartagena- and only kept seven players from the last season. And there are two big identity marks: the reduction of the squad’s age and the reduction in the number of foreigners. With the exits and arrivals the average age of the team has passed from 29.29 to 25.14, while the numbers of foreign players has passed from eleven to just two –Colombian Abel Aguilar and Portuguese Tiago Gomes-

The reduction of the average age doesn’t mean that suddenly the team is young, actually this team is now considered as a mixture of youth and experience, with old foxes like midfielder Diego Rivas (31) and defender Pepe Mora (30) alternating with promising players like winger Juanmi Callejón (24) and striker Urko Vera (24).

There are two conclusions of this team; the first is that the large number of signings and the short period of time for a proper adaptation indicate that this isn’t yet a solid block; a simple example is the situation at the striking zone.  The only available striker for the past game with FC Cartagena was Adrian Sardinero, and in the end the starter in the position was ex-Depor playmaker Michel; on this weeks the club completed the signings of strikers David Aganzo and Urko Vera, but they are unfit to play, however Mandiá was forced to pick Vera in order to fill the gaps at the bench. Still, Michel will continue to be the improvised starting choice.

But the positive conclusion is that the stronger point of Hércules it’s based at midfield, with a mixture between the experience of Diego Rivas and Abel Aguilar, the quality of Michel, plus the freshness of Tiago Gomes and Juanmi Callejón.

For the meeting at the Riazor Mandiá is set to send an unchanged team after the convincing win over FC Cartagena (2-0). It’s a 4-1-4-1 figure, with ex-Celta keeper Ismael Falcón at the goal; ex-Levante Juan Ramón Cabrero ‘Juanra’ covering the right-back position, former Murcia man Francisco Peña will perform on the left and the central positions at defense will be for veteran José Francisco Mora and ex-Elche player Samuel Llorca.

Former Real Sociedad Diego Rivas will be the lonely pivote in the formation, Felipe Sanchón,  Colombian Abel Aguilar and Portuguese Tiago Gomes will be the trio playing behind the attacking line, ex-Cordoba man (and brother of the current player of Real Madrid José Callejón) Juan Miguel Callejón will act as the playmaker in the scheme performing towards the left wing, and ex-Depor Miguel Alfonso Herrero ‘Michel’ will be the improvised central attacker.

Portuguese Tiago Gomes was commenting about the difficulty of the match, ”It’s going to be a very difficult game and it will be played at a tough stadium, but we are confident that the team is going to make a great job. I didn’t leave during the summer, the transfer window is closed, and now we need to focus in what lies ahead, because we have to face tough games within the next weeks.

List of picked players (18): Falcón, Juan Carlos Martín (goalkeepers); Peña, Juanra, Samuel, Arbilla, Mora, Sergio Alejandro Díaz (defenders); Michel, Carlos Calvo, Sanchón, Diego Rivas, Abel Aguilar, Tiago Gomes, Callejón, Escassi (midfielders); Adrián Sardinero and Urko Vera (strikers).

PROBABLE LINEUPS
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Aranzubia – Manuel Pablo, Aythami, Ze Castro, Ayoze – Jesús Vázquez, Álex Bergantiños – Saúl, Valerón, Salomão – Riki.
Hércules (4-1-4-1) Falcón - Juanra, Samuel, Mora, Peña - Diego Rivas - Felipe Sanchón, Abel Aguilar, Tiago Gomes, Callejón - Míchel.
Referee: Antonio Israel Mariscal Sánchez  (36, third year at Segunda)
Kick-off: 20h00 CET (Riazor)
Head-to-head Vs. Hercules: 13 wins for Depor, 2 draws, 11 wins for Hercules (Primera & Segunda)
Record at the Riazor: 11 wins for Depor, 1 draw, 1 win for Hercules (Primera & Segunda)

ARCHIVE NEWS SEPT/11

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