Elche boss expects professional display

Elche's match at Espanyol will double up as a homecoming for former Pericos Coro, Javi Marquez and Edu Albacar, but Fran Escriba doesn't think it will get to his players.

Elche player

Elche's late win over Celta Vigo last week saw Escriba's side move on to 29 points for the season and gave them further breathing space with regards to the relegation zone - six points ahead of 18th-placed Valladolid.

But a win against Espanyol will go a long way to ensuring Elche enjoy another season in the Primera Division after waiting 24 years to get back into the top flight, and Escriba is certain emotions will not come into it.

"My players are very professional and although this game will be very special for Coro, Javi Marquez and Albacar, they will leave their emotions to one side," said the coach in a press conference.

Escriba is well aware of Espanyol's strong home record - they have lost just five of their 13 games at Cornella El Prat this season - but insists his team "always give you the feeling they could pick up points in any game".

He could barely hide his satisfaction with how his team have performed in their first season back in the top flight for so long, reflecting that his team have been "very consistent throughout the season", whilst stressing they should not get ahead of themselves.

"Talking about anything other than the game at Cornella would be a mistake," he said.

Elche beat Javier Aguirre's side in Elche earlier in the season and Escriba is hoping for a repeat performance on Sunday, adding that the confidence they gained from beating Celta will stand them in good stead.

"We were able to play with a lot of intensity in the game here and although they are very strong at Cornella, we'll go there with the aim of doing the same thing," he said.

"The squad knows that our remaining games will be difficult but victories strengthen your spirit and reinforce the work we do every day."

Aaron Niguez, Cristian Sapunaru and Albacar are injury doubts ahead of the game for Elche, while Espanyol will be without striker Jhon Cordoba, who is suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.

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