Elche vs Levante preview - Elche looking to escape drop zone

Posted Saturday, January 17, 2015 by PA

Elche full-back Damian Suarez has set his sights on climbing out of the relegation zone this weekend.

Elche may be at the foot of the table but they could leave the bottom three behind providing they beat Levante on Sunday and fellow strugglers Almeria fail to win at Valencia.

Such a scenario looked unlikely when the team took their Christmas break after losing four straight games, but Fran Escriba's side have begun 2015 on the right foot, holding high-flying Villarreal to a 2-2 draw and then winning 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao last weekend.

"It would be spectacular if we got out of the relegation zone," Suarez told a press conference.

"We have been in the relegation zone for nearly the whole season and no-one likes being in it. And after winning in San Mames it's vital we win again at home."

Levante are without a victory in their last six matches and are level on points with the relegation zone, prompting Suarez to call Sunday's game at the Martinez Valero "special".

"They are a strong team and are aggressive in all areas of the pitch," added the Uruguayan.

"Even though a draw will be a good result for both teams, they will come here to win. It will be a very competitive game, because every team near the relegation zone wants to get away from it. But whatever happens, there will still be half the season to go."

Elche will be without defender David Lomban through suspension and forward Garry Rodrigues is away at the African Nations Cup with Cape Verde.

Levante, meanwhile, have defender Nikos Karabelas and striker David Barral out through suspension, while Hector Rodas is injured and midfield lynchpin Pape Diop is also at the African Nations Cup, with Senegal.

Levante coach Lucas Alcaraz admitted the game with Elche was of heightened importance given the proximity of the two sides to each other.

"Of course every game from now on is important but when you face a team in this part of the table any result, whether it's good or bad, seems to be worth more because if you win, your opponent doesn't," he told a press conference.

"But we have to have the same attitude in every game, which is to always prepare with the hope that you can win."

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