Celta Vigo vs Saints: Preview

By SFC Media time Fri 02 Aug Club

Saints return to Spain this weekend for a trip to the north-west region of the country to take on Real Club Celta de Vigo.

The match is part of an annual pre-season football tournament titled the Trofeo Memorial Quinocho, which is the 18th edition of the competition that is dedicated to Vigo’s former player and club director Joaquin Fernandez Santomé 'Quinocho'.

This is different to the Trofeo Ciudad de Vigo – the City Of Vigo Trophy – a competition that Saints are previous winners of, in 1983.

The La Liga outfit play their home games in the 31,800 capacity Balaídos which was used to host Italy’s group games in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. 

After an absence of five years from Spain’s top-flight, Vigo returned to the Primera División in 2012. Os Célticos had something of an unsettled season last term, replacing Head Coach Paco Herrera with Abel Resino in February before he in turn was replaced by former Real Madrid and Barcelona star Luis Enrique in June.

Enrique will be a familiar face to Saints goalkeeping coach Toni Jiménez, as the pair played together in Spain’s gold-winning squad at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

After only confirming their survival in the Spanish top flight on the final day of the 2012/13 season, Enrique will be looking to push on and achieve the type of results that saw Vigo qualify for the Champions League back in 2003/04 where they were eventually eliminated by Arsenal.

Amongst their current squad is Danish international midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli, who will look to help fill the void made by the departure of striker Iago Aspas to Liverpool earlier this summer.

A number of former players have also appeared in England over the years, including, Sylvinho, Benni McCarthy, Mido and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.

They begin their season on the same weekend as Saints, albeit two days later, when they face Espanyol at Balaídos on Monday 19th August.

For Saints, this match will be the fifth warm-up fixture of their pre-season campaign, before the hosting of Real Sociedad at St Mary’s next weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men have won three of their four games as part of a progressive build up to the Barclays Premier League campaign, with a 3-1 success over Turkish side Beşiktaş last weekend.

That game rounded off Saints’ stint in Austria, and the squad have since returned to Staplewood in order to prepare for a short stay in Vigo this weekend.

Nathaniel Clyne missed the Beşiktaş match with a knock sustained in training, though Guly returned after sitting out the game against Schalke. 

Rickie Lambert, Emmanuel Mayuka and Lloyd Isgrove were all on the scoresheet after coming on as second half substitutes last week, so will be pushing for starts this time around.

The game will kick off at 8pm CET/7pm BST, with live updates provided on saintsfc.co.uk and our official Twitter feed throughout the evening.

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