Wantaway defender Sime Vrsajlko is expected to start for Atletico Madrid when they take on a resurgent Alaves this Saturday.

Atleti boss Diego Simeone on Vrsajlko’s chances: “I won’t close the door to anyone, players can come and go in January.

“This is football and the club have needs. All the players who are with me for as long as they’re here, I’ll try to squeeze as many games out of them as possible.

“Circumstances haven’t helped Sime. He became our starting right-back last season, but then he got injured and Juanfran did well, so he won the position back.

“Now it’s happened that both have returned to fight for the position and I need them both.

“The stronger you are, the better you perform and the better you’ll compete. You need emotional balance to endure the difficult moments and gauge the good ones.”

Alaves boss Abelardo Fernandez on his side ‘parking the bus’: “We’re not going to park the bus, we’ll go to compete and win the game.

“Atletico are the most competitive team in the League. They have very few weaknesses, if any, but we’re Alaves and we’ll try to have a good game, use our weapons and go for the win.”

Atletico Madrid (probable): Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savic, Godin, Filipe; Thomas, Gabi, Saul, Koke; Griezmann, Gameiro

Injuries/suspensions: Gimenez (I)

Alaves (probable): Pacheco; Martin, Alexis, Maripan, Duarte; Ibai, Manu, Pina, Pedraza; Munir, Burgui

Injuries/suspensions: Vigaray, Laguardia, Sobrino, Ely, Hector (I)

Referee: Gil Manzano

Form guide: Atleti – 3rd (W W W D W) Alaves – 18th (W W L L W)

Previous meeting: Alaves 0-0 Atleti

Venue: Wanda Metropolitano

Kick-off time: 19:45 GMT/20:45 CET