MADRID - Brief news from the Primera Liga ahead of this weekend's matches: Barcelona's France full back Eric Abidal has been passed fit to return to action and could make the squad to play Valencia at home on Saturday. Valencia rested forwards David Villa and Juan Mata for Thursday's 1-1 UEFA Cup draw against Club Bruges that put them in the knockout stage. Defender Carlos Marchena is suspended and Brazilian midfielder Edu is injured. Champions Real Madrid are confident they can lift themselves for the visit of Sevilla on Sunday, despite a series of injuries and two defeats in their last three league games. "This team has the ability to react. We have a team more than capable of winning titles," sports director Predrag Mijatovic said. Sevilla will be without suspended striker Luis Fabiano but could have Uruguayan Ernesto Chevanton back from injury. Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini has recovered all his injured players except for top scorer Joseba Llorente for the visit of Getafe on Saturday. Getafe are without injured striker Manu del Moral for a second match. Atletico Madrid's Portugal midfielder Maniche, whose contract expires at the end of the season, urged his team to extend their 11-match unbeaten streak in all competitions away to Sporting Gijon on Saturday. "My intention is to continue because I am happy here and don't want to change teams. We will try to reach an agreement promptly," Maniche added. Almeria, in 14th with one win in eight matches, have given their backing to coach Gonzalo Arconada ahead of their trip to face Numancia on Sunday. "Whatever happens in Soria, Arconada will continue being Almeria coach," president Alfonso Garcia told Onda Cero radio. New Espanyol coach Mane travels to face Real Betis for his first game at the helm on Sunday without top scorers Raul Tamudo (injured) and Luis Garcia (suspended).
5 December 2008
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