Ruben Castro has surprisingly been dropped from the Real Betis squad to travel to Malaga in a Derby match between two sides in need of a result.
The 35-year-old has featured in all of Los Verdiblancos matches this season – including 21 starts from 23 in La Liga – but will not travel with the squad, which also won’t include Cristiano Piccini, Nahuel Leiva or Ryan Donk but does see Joaquin return from injury to face his former club.
Betis have struggled for goals recently – scoring only three goals in their last six outings – and are now likely to pair Antonio Sanabria with Alex Alegria in attack for their match at La Rosaleda against Malaga, who they trail by two points but have played one game fewer.
“We have to keep looking forward and stay focused on our aims,” said coach Victor Sanchez del Amo at his pre-match press conference.
“Saturday’s match was very emotional but we are now in a period of the season where a number of matches arrive quickly and we must be properly prepared for all of them – we can now only focus on Malaga.
“We have analysed the Sevilla defeat and have seen our mistakes both individually and collectively, there was a lot of anger and emotion.
“Our away form has simply not been good enough and that must change – we try to win every games but away from home we have not been good enough and Malaga are a direct rival for us in the league.
“If you look at the table, it isn’t good – we must work hard to change our situation and we need points.”