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Preview (Copa del Rey): Real Madrid vs. Cultural Leonesa

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Real Madrid prepare with a squad that is 62.5% Castilla born and bred.

Mariano Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

For those of you that know me I cover all things Castilla both on ManagingMadrid and my own twitter account. After being asked a few different times by various people, I've finally given in and am writing my first entry for the first team. What better game to start with than a Castilla included fixture. Real Madrid host CD Leonesa, at 7pm CET. Castilla stars Enzo, Martin Ødegaard, and Álvaro Tejero join up with a squad that is 62.5% Castilla born and bred.

The Opposition

Leonesa come into this game 7-1 down without having kicked a ball from the first leg. But besides that result, they are having a very successful season. They are currently 8 points clear at the top of group one in Segunda División B (Same league as Castilla), and have lost just one game so far all season(7-1 in the CDR first leg vs Real Madrid). Two of their players have been on Madrid's books in the past. Their captain Antonio Martínez, was with Madrid for 11 years. A name that might be more familiar with some of you is that of talented centre half José León. He has been with Real Madrid for 12 years and is currently on loan from Castilla to Leonesa. He missed a large part of last season with Castilla and is yet to feature this season due to a nasty ACL inury he picked up, but he now looks set to return against his parent club on the greatest of stages. Normally this wouldn't be allowed to happen, but Real Madrid personally lifted the rule, and allowed him to play tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow’s game pushes him onto a successful season, allowing him to return to Madrid a better player.

Team News

With the first El Clásico of the season occurring this Saturday, of which Madrid have a few injury worries to cover for, and the team already having a massive 7-1 advantage from the first leg against Leonesa, it comes as no surprise to see a less experienced squad named for tomorrow. Kiko Casilla is likely to start after seeing limited game time in other competitions. Being the only two full backs in the squad, I expect Carvajal to start on the right and Tejero the left, with Nacho and the returning Pepe slotting in at centre half. Casemiro is another player coming back from injury who I expect to start in the middle alongside Mateo Kovačić, with James who has suffered this season getting a run out just in front of them. Marco Asensio will surely have a part to play on the left, with Castilla star Martin Ødegaard likely to start on the right. Mariano will start up front earning him some much deserved game time and a chance to impress.

All in all I think that the squad could have been further rested and a few more Castilla players should have been called in. It's unlikely that Isco or Vázquez will feature due to the Clásico, and it would have been a fitting reward for the good work of players such as Febas or Díaz so far this season. It seems a bit of a kick in the teeth to those young players considering the circumstances around this fixture, and doesn't send a good message out to those looking to join Madrid or those scpetic of the youth set up here. At the end of the day however, it's Zidane who calls the shots, and he's created a squad of fringe players mixed in with youth players and players returning from injury. This should make quite the interesting affair, and it will be very intriguing to see how the players fare under no pressure whatsoever in front of the Bernabéu faithful. Tune in tomorrow after the game where I'll be discussing the performance and result and taking in your opinions. You won't want to miss it!

Real Madrid CF v Real Sporting de Gijon - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images