Hosts will doubtless be giving this match their full attention, sitting as they do in a (fairly) comfortable mid table position. They are on a five match unbeaten run and have not lost in eight starts at El Sardinero. On the minus side, they are definitely short of options upfront, Nikola Zigic cannot play against his former club and Tchite, who appears to be on his way out of Racing, will not be used. Having said that, they do have an incredible record against Valencia, are unbeaten in eight meetings, winning the last six , including a fine 4-2 win at the Mestalla two months ago. They have named the following squad of 16 :
Fabio Coltorti, Mario Fernandez, Marcano, Pinillos, Sepsi, Oriol, Garay, Mehdi Lacen, Goncalves, Colsa, Edu Bedia, Toral, Serrano, Munitis, Jonathan Pereira and Juanjo.
The visitors are desperate to get back into the Champions League, after missing out this season, they have a meeting with a direct rival at the weekend and will not take any chances tonight, especially with the second leg still to come and a chance to turn things around then. On their home website, in a look at the month ahead, coach Unai Emery, did not even mention the Copa and was very focused on the key league meetings against rivals for a top 4 spot. At level ball and odds against, I have to side with the home team.