Villarreal may be forced to field veteran defender Daniele Bonera on Saturday against Eibar, who “can’t count on” Takashi Inui.
Victor Ruiz’s suspension and Mateo Musacchio’s likely exhaustion from representing Argentina during the international break could see 35-year-old Bonera make his first La Liga appearance in two months.
Victory over Eibar would leave Villarreal provisionally within four points of the Champions League places, but Fran Escriba was forced to take questions about his future at his pre-match Press conference, with the Coach’s contract expiring in June.
“I’ve already said that my idea is to think about the team,” said the former Elche and Getafe boss.
“It seems to me that the club have their deadlines and I also share them. Our idea is to stay as high as possible, that should be everyone’s focus.
“Hopefully we finish as high as possible, even if it means that I don’t stay on. The truth is that I’d take that.”
Eibar, meanwhile, are hoping to arrest a run of four games without a win, stretching back to February.
Their cause has been made harder as Takashi Inui will return to his native Japan for a visit of the Spanish royal family, ruling him out of the Basques’ two games after the Yellow Submarine.
However, Coach Jose Luis Mendilibar hinted he would punish the winger by dropping him at La Ceramica, one matchday early.
“It’s a diplomatic decision, I can’t say anything more than that,” he lamented.
“We’ve each given our opinion on it and this has been decided. He’s one less player we can count on.
“There will be someone else that can take advantage, and if they do well, it’ll be Taka who has to suffer because he’ll have to wait to get back into the team.”
Villarreal (probable): Andres Fernandez; Mario, Bonera, Alvaro Gonzalez, Costa; Bruno, Soriano, Trigueros; Castillejo, Soldado, Bakambu
Injuries/suspensions: Cheryshev (I) Asenjo (I) Ruiz (S)
Eibar (probable): Yoel; Capa, Ramis, Lejeune, Arbilla; Pedro Leon, Dani Garcia, Escalante, Bebe; Kike, Enrich
Injuries/suspensions: Fran Rico (I) Nano (I)
Referee: Ocon Arraiz
Form guide: Villarreal (L W W W L) Eibar (D D L D W)
Previous meeting: Eibar 2-1 Villarreal
Kick-off time: 12:00 BST/13:00 CET