Athletic Bilbao will be aiming for a sixth consecutive win in La Liga on Saturday when they visit Sevilla, who are confident of re-signing coach Unai Emery.
Sevilla president Jose Castro insists he is actively negotiating with Emery to keep the 43-year-old at the club beyond this season, but denied those talks will distract the team or their coach.
Emery has been in charge of Sevilla since January 2013 and, although he has been linked with Milan, Castro is confident the former Almeria, Valencia and Spartak Moscow boss will still be at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan next term.
“He is very happy with us; we are in discussions with him to extend his contract,” Castro told Sevilla’s website.
“No rush…we are now focused on what is important, which are these 10 exciting days in the league.
“What we have to go is all in the same direction. We do not stop the negotiations but we focus on what’s important…in football anything can happen but I think [he will stay] in view of what he says, and how happy he is here.”
Fifth-placed Sevilla will look to strengthen their bid for a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League when they host Bilbao on Saturday, but will come up against the form side of La Liga.
Bilbao have risen from 13th to eighth in the standings during their winning run and are now only five points behind Malaga in seventh.
Sevilla are in the midst of their own winning streak of three matches, yet they may be concerned about their recent record against Bilbao.
In the past eight meetings between the two sides, Bilbao have won six times, although only one of those successes came away from home.
Real Madrid will hope to bounce back from their Clasico defeat from before the international break when they host relegation-threatened Granada.
Abel Resino’s Granada have not won in their past 12 away games in La Liga.
Should Real suffer a surprise slip-up, leaders Barcelona can extend their four-point lead over Carlo Ancelotti’s men when they visit Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Valencia, who sit third, face sixth-placed Villarreal in one of the weekend’s standout matches, while reigning champions Atletico Madrid are on the road at bottom club Cordoba.
Eibar and Rayo Vallecano will start the round’s action on Friday, while Espanyol face Elche in the last match on Monday.
In other fixtures, Almeria host Levante, Malaga take on Real Sociedad and Deportivo La Coruna visit Getafe.
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