San Mamés hosts a duel between two sides competing for three vital points. Athletic Club must return to winning ways if they are to avoid falling further away from the hunt for European football next season, while Cádiz CF, whose form has improved considerably since the World Cup, visit The Cathedral with their sights set on escaping the relegation zone.
Athletic Club vs Cádiz CF (Matchday 20)
San Mames (Bilbao)
LaLiga Santander 22/23
Friday February 3, 21:00 CET
How to Watch
Find out when and where to catch the match with our global TV guide
Valverde has named a 23-man squad for the clash. Striker Iñaki Williams is out with a hamstring issue, while centre-back Iñigo Martínez remains on the sidelines with a heel injury. Young forward Adu Ares, who made his debut in the first fixture of the season, is brought back into the fold.
Catch up with everything the gaffer had to say ahead of the clash in Bilbao
Head coach: Sergio González
Cadiz's no-nonsense boss made his name as a midfielder turning out for the likes of RCD Espanyol, Deportivo la Coruña and UD Levante.
His first job as a professional manager came in 2014 when he took over the RCD Espanyol hotseat after a couple of years working with their B team. He spent a little more than one season with the Catalan side.
In 2018 he was appointed at Real Valladolid, leading to promotion from LaLiga Smartbank via the play-offs. After slightly longer than three years with Los Pucelonas, Sergio was relieved of his duties following relegation back to the Segunda.
Sergio replaced Álvaro Cervera at Cádiz CF in January 2022 with the Andalusians lying in 19th place and four points from safety. Six wins and five draws, which included important results against relegation rivals, saw Cadiz maintain their LaLiga status.
Top scorer: Álex Fernández
With Lucas Pérez's recent departure to Deportivo La Coruña, Álex jumps to the top of Cádiz goalscoring chart with three strikes in 17 appearances.
The 30-year-old midfielder, brother of Real Madrid's Nacho Fernández, is now in his sixth season with the Andalusians. Alex made his professional debut at Real Madrid and has also turned out for Espanyol, Rijeka (on loan), Reading FC (on loan) and Elche CF.
Recent form (LaLiga): DWDLW
Sergio González's side have stepped up a gear since the World Cup break, eight points from a possible 15 taking them to 18th place and one point from safety after a torrid start to the season.
Since their first meeting in LaLiga in the 1977/78 season, Cádiz and Athletic have played a total of 31 matches. The balance hangs heavily in the Lions' favour with 17 wins, six draws and eight defeats.
In terms of matches played in Bilbao, Athletic have a positive track record against the Andalusians with 11 wins, two draws and two defeats.
Out of the last five encounters at San Mames, Los Rojiblancos have three wins and two narrow defeats, both of which have come in the last two seasons.
The return fixture at the Nuevo Mirandilla took place in August of this current season, the Lions running out 0-4 winners thanks to goals from Iñaki Williams, Gorka Guruzeta (x2) and Alex Berenguer.
Work plan until March 26
The Athletic Club men's first team will stick to the following training schedule until March 26
Tickets for Athletic Club vs CA Osasuna in the Copa
Early-bird sale for Club Athletic members until Sunday night. General sale starts on March 20
Valverde: “We deserved a win like this.”
Ernesto Valverde praises a victory which saw Los Leones to break their losing streak
Impressive victory at Pucela
Athletic Club go into the internatioal break with a much-needed that puts them back in the fight for Europe
Iñigo Martínez and Nico Williams called up to Spain squad
Athletic Club's defender and forward have been selected by Luis de la Fuente for the Euro 2024 qualifiers
Match Pack: Real Valladolid CF vs Athletic Club (LaLiga MD26)
Athletic head to Real Valladolid's José Zorilla looking for three crucial points
Squad List: Real Valladolid CF vs Athletic Club (LaLiga MD26)
Ernesto Valverde calls up 21 players for Friday night's LaLiga match at the José Zorrilla
Valverde: "We want to win, but we're not fretting"
The boss said Athletic are desperate to win because they want to stay in the top half of the table
Global TV Guide: Real Valladolid vs Athletic Club (LaLiga MD26)
LaLiga TV operators and kick-off times around the world for Friday's match at the José Zorilla
Valverde: "We're left with a bittersweet feeling"
Valverde believes Athletic did enough to win but acknowledged "it's not enough to play well and deserve to win".