It’s been a whole two weeks since Betis played out a bore 0-0 draw away to Espanyol, gaining their first point of the season after two (unjust) defeats against Real Madrid and Celta Vigo.
The players have had a good chance to recuperate but they are still injury concerns. Unfortunately, Rubén Castro is still injured from the on-going problem with his hamstrings/sciatic nerve. He went to visit a specialist spinal consultant yesterday in Barcelona with Tomás Calero (head of Betis medical services) who must have given Rubén some good news as he tweeted last night, “already at home relaxed and happy that everything is OK.” Doctor Enric Cáceres told him to rest for 48 hours and return to training on Monday. That outlook is looking optimistic.
Other absentees for tomorrow’s game include Joan Verdú and Juan Carlos. By my reckoning that means that goals will be even harder to come by! Also concerning Pepe Mel will be the fact that Betis kick off their Europa League campaign on Thursday with a fairly mouthwatering tie against Lyon. With lots of fronts to fight on, having a fully fit squad is vital for success.
Away from the football field there have been some changes at the club. One of the key members of the technical staff, Emilio Vega, has been dismissed. Unless the situation changes radically, he will not be given a new position. Vega was second in rank to Sporting Director Vlada Stosic and played an important part in the identification and negotiation of many new signings. However, it has been said that the relationship between him and the rest of the technical team, Vlada Stosic, Aurelio Santos, Keke Durán and Angel Luis Catalina, has recently deteriorated. There is completely no mention of this change at all on the official club website. In his press conference however, Pepe Mel did say thanks to Vega for his work.
Tomorrow night will also see the return of Dorlan Pabón to el Benito Villamarín. Pabón joined Betis on loan last January from Parma and played a key role in securing a Europa League place for Betis. The club tried to sign him during the summer but could not afford him. Instead he joined Valencia for around €7.5 million. He will get a great reception from los Béticos, no doubt. I wish Betis would have signed him as he is a constant goal threat.