Santi Mina is poised to make the difference for Valencia against the club he joined at the age of 10

Santi Mina returns to the club he joined at the age of 10 as Valencia visit Balaídos to take on lowly Celta Vigo on Saturday evening (19:45 GMT).

The 23-year-old striker has returned home on several occasions since leaving Celta for Valencia in 2015, netting in last season’s fixture, but is poised to make a real difference for Los Che.

Marcelino’s side have suffered from a lack of confidence and composure in front of goal this season and are the joint lowest scorers in the Primera Division.

Mina’s double against Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday was his third brace of the season and gives Los Che hope of changing their fortunes up front.

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Celta Vigo are in the midst of a torrid run of form having won just two of their last nine league games. They currently sit just one place and two points above the relegation zone with four of their five league wins this campaign coming at home.

They are currently without David Costas, Robert Mazan and Okay Yokuslu through injury while Pione Sisto is a doubt with illness.

The Galicians could also have to do without Iago Aspas. The former Liverpool striker hasn’t played since the 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in December with a calf injury.

As for Valencia, Goncalo Guedes and Geoffrey Kondogbia will miss out with hernia and hamstring injuries respectively.

Probable line-ups:

Celta (4-3-3): R. Blanco; Mallo, Cabral, Araujo, Junca; Beltran, Lobotka, Jozabed; B. Mendez, M. Gomez, Boufal.

Valencia (4-4-2): Neto; Piccini, Garay, Diakhaby, Gaya; Soler, Wass, Parejo, Cheryshev; Rodrigo, Mina.

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Celta boss Miguel Cardoso was bullish in his pre-match press conference, urging his players to rise to the task during this difficult spell: “This is a city of people of the sea, of fishermen, who have to go out to see even if there’s a storm.

“This is the attitude I want the team to have. In moments when the results are not how we want them, we are capable of giving our all to get the three points.”

With Valencia occupying a place in the bottom half of the table, Marcelino’s job has been a much-debated subject in recent weeks. However, the Spaniard is looking forward to the test on the west coast.

“We play against a Celta in need of a result, they have great efficiency but have defensive difficulties,” he said.

“Our plan is to win. We go with this excitement.”

 

 

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