Almeria expect challenge against Malaga

Almeria coach Francisco Javier Rodriguez is refusing to be fooled by Malaga's lowly league position and poor run of form.

UD Almeria

Bernd Schuster's side occupy the final place above the relegation zone and have taken just four points from their seven league games in 2014.

But although Malaga are experiencing contrasting fortunes under the German coach compared to last season's European adventures with Manuel Pellegrini, Rodriguez sought to remind his team of the enduring strengths of their opponents in his pre-match press conference.

"We cannot forget that they have many experienced players of great quality, several internationals, and have got a lot of power in attack," he said.

"Malaga are a great club due to the city they represent, their fans, their structure and their squad, and they will be desperate to get away from the relegation zone, which means it will be a very demanding game."

Although two places above Malaga in the league table, Almeria are just one point better off than their regional rivals, and their coach stressed how important it was for his side to win on Saturday.

"Both teams have a lot to play for and we need to win so we can try and increase the distance between us and the teams in the relegation zone."

Both teams will be boosted by the return of suspended players, with Malaga defender Sergio Sanchez coming back into the team after missing the 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad and Fernando Soriano bolstering the Almeria midfield after his absence in the 1-0 reverse at Levante.

Malaga got the better of Almeria earlier in the season at La Rosaleda, but Rodriguez hopes his team can maintain their 100 per cent home record in 2014 by picking up another three points.

He said: "We are playing well at home, we've picked up 10 points out of the last 12 and without conceding a goal - it's an excellent record and we want to keep it up, but each game is different."

And he warned: "Against Malaga, with everything both teams are playing for, anything could happen. The records may be in our favour, but they are also there to be broken, even though we will try our hardest to make sure that doesn't happen."

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