Elche vs Almeria preview - Martinez: No margin of error

Posted Saturday, March 07, 2015 by PA

Almeria coach Juan Ignacio Martinez has urged his struggling side to win at direct rivals Elche on Saturday because "there is no margin for error".

The two sides are level on 24 points going into the game and just two points above the relegation zone.

Almeria's situation is yet more precarious as they have been hit with a three-point deduction by FIFA for an outstanding debt to Danish side Aalborg for the transfer of Michael Jakobsen. The club have appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the points have not yet been deducted by the LFP, the league's organising body.

The Andalusian side have taken two points from their last three games, making victory over Elche yet more urgent.

"There is no longer any margin for error, the points that you don't pick up now cannot be recovered later on because we are not at the start of the season - there are only three months left," Martinez told a press conference.

The two sides drew 2-2 in Almeria earlier this season, and Martinez is also looking at the head-to-head record between the two sides, which determines which team finishes above the other in the event they end the season on the same number of points.

"Elche are direct rivals, we have the same number of points in the league table and the head-to-head is also at stake, which could be very important in the final struggle for survival," added the coach.

"I'm sure that Elche are going to create many difficulties for us but I'm also sure that Almeria will be able to interpret the play and soak up the pressure our opponents put us under. I also think that we will have our chances going forward, and we will have to be lethal in that aspect."

Forward Thievy Bifouma and full-back Michel Macedo are both suspended after getting sent off in last week's 0-0 draw with Deportivo La Coruna, while winger Edgar Mendez misses the match after picking up a fifth yellow card. Elche's only absentee is injured veteran defender Sergio Pellegrin, while Fran Escriba welcomes back top scorer Jonathas de Jesus from injury and defender Enzo Roco from suspension.

Martinez added: "It's a shame that we have so many players out, but I have full confidence in the rest of my players and I'm convinced that they will compete at the highest level possible."

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