Deportivo prepare for Mallorca visit

Deportivo La Coruna coach Javier Irureta is a man in a hurry as his side prepare for their cup semi-final against Mallorca this week.

Deportivo La Coruna coach Javier Irureta is a man in a hurry as his side prepare for their cup semi-final against Mallorca this week.

Deportivo have the slight disadvantage of playing the first of a two-legged affair in their Riazor stadium, with a trip to Mallorca at the beginning of next month.

However, Irureta hopes the game can make that trip virtually irrelevant, even though he isn't planning on springing any surprises.

"At this stage of the season all the teams know each other inside out and that's why we are going to try and leave everything well under way in Riazor," he said.

Apart from Juan Carlos Valeron, Deportivo have virtually their full squad available and as Irureta reminded everyone following their excellent 2-0 win over Betis at the weekend, they are the only team in Spain who are still alive in three competitions.

Mallorca on the other hand have all sorts of problems as they prepare to travel to La Coruna.

Coach Gregorio Manzano is without long term casualties Miguel Angel Nadal and Javier Olaizola in central defence, while Fernando Nino is also doubtful after pulling a muscle in the team's defeat to Valencia.

Left-back Poli will cover in the middle, while the good news for Manzano is the return of striker Walter Pandiani from suspension.

Pandiani, who is currently on loan from Deportivo, will no doubt have a point to prove.

If Deportivo v Mallorca is a tie many fans would have preferred to have seen as the final, the other semi-final the next day is guaranteed to make history as Recreativo Huelva and Osasuna battle it out for the right to make their first-ever final appearance.

Recreativo are at full strength for the game and although the side currently five points adrift at the foot of the Primera Liga crashed 4-0 to Malaga, any side capable of knocking both Betis and Atletico Madrid out of the cup must be taken seriously.

Osasuna coach Javier Aguirre has taken responsibility for the home defeat to Villarreal.

"I didn't pick the right players for the game, the pitch was in bad condition, but I was pigheaded, even though I could see what was coming," he said.

"Maybe the defeat will help us by showing we have to concentrate in every game, but now we have to pick ourselves up."