Xerez are hoping a change of coach will herald a change of fortune as they take on Real Zaragoza tonight in a battle between the bottom two teams in the Primera Liga. Xerez sacked Jose Angel Ziganda this week following a miserable start to the club's first season in the top flight. In their 17 games so far, Xerez have managed to pick up just one win and score only seven goals, leaving them bottom of the standings and eight points adrift of 17th-placed Tenerife and safety.
They are also six points behind second-bottom Zaragoza following six successive defeats, and the new man Antonio Poyatos has his work cut out to turn things around. Poyatos, the club's technical secretary who has been put in charge on an interim basis while the search for a permanent successor to Ziganda takes place, admits the game is a vital one for his side. "We are playing for a lot. The team is stuck in a rut due to the bad results we've been having," he said. "Let's see if we are capable of winning at La Romareda [Zaragoza's home ground], because if we do then we can start seeing things in a different light.
"It's a very important encounter and the players have the confidence to be able to beat Zaragoza. This team is not inferior to the other sides fighting to stay up." Like Xerez, Zaragoza also made a recent managerial change, replacing the sacked Marcelino Garcia Toral with Jose Aurelio Gay just before Christmas. Zaragoza have been quick to add reinforcements during the January transfer window though, bringing in Eliseu, Humberto Suazo and Jiri Jarosik, and all three are in Gay's squad for tomorrow's match. Suazo and Jarosik will both be making their debuts if they feature.
Czech Republic international Jarosik, who has won league titles in four countries in spells at Chelsea, Celtic, Sparta Prague and CSKA Moscow, said at his presentation this week: "I'm very happy. The Spanish league is the most important in the world and I wanted to play here." * With agencies