Racing boss Hector Cuper has attempted to make up for a lack of recognised personnel by adopting a new, high-intensity pressing game in training this week but the Argentinian admits only time will tell if it was worthwhile.
"We have to win, everyone knows what our objective is," he told reporters at a press conference.
"You could say they (Espanyol) are slightly better than us in the sense that they have already won three games this season but that isn't going to change our attitude.
"We have to press high to deny them time and tomorrow [Saturday] we will see if that bears fruit."
There is some relief for Cuper on the injury front with the news that Marc Torrejon is available to start for the first time this season after a brief substitute appearance at Barcelona last weekend, but Gonzalo Colsa will again miss out despite returning to training this week and Kennedy Bakircioglu is still some way off a return with an Achilles injury.
Espanyol arrive in Santander in buoyant mood after securing their first away win since January against Rayo Vallecano last weekend but coach Mauricio Pochettino has denied his squad are getting carried away with that success.
"We don't have any sort of euphoria," he said.
"They were three points that cut short a very bad run of form away from home but I don't think it was the result of the day.
"Racing will be a complicated and difficult opponent. They have made things difficult for teams like Valencia. They are a team that works hard tactically and in front of their own fans will want to get a good result."
Pochettino also defended his decision to send winger Thievy Bifouma back to train with the B team this week by saying it is good for the development of a young player to have short spells with the first team and not be burdened with expectation.
Juan Albin has stepped up his level of training after being injured six weeks ago against Athletic Bilbao but will not be involved against Racing.