Iraola admits importance of Real Sociedad clash

The 30-year-old has acknowledged the importance of securing a victory over local rivals Real Sociedad on Friday
Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Iraola has earmarked the upcoming Basque derby with Real Sociedad as a potentially season-defining clash.

Los Leones welcome Sociedad to San Memes on Friday night on the back of successive defeats to Espanyol and Malaga, a run of form which leaves Marcelo Biesla's side just six points off the relegation zone.

And the 30-year-old has highlighted the importance of securing a victory against their local rivals.

"Obviously the derby is a special game, with many conditions to it, but on top of that is the situation in the table that we find ourselves in," the defender told reporters.

"It makes the importance of the points high. I have played in previous derbies that have been very important for the table.

"We come from two painful losses, we are in a bad situation and with not many games to go.

"In the end, when in the situation we are in, every point is valuable and it is uncomfortable for the two to three weeks that we have had, but I am confident in what I see and that we can improve things."

In stark contrast to the fortunes of their local rivals this season, Phillipe Montanier's Real Sociedad are aiming to secure a Champions League place - a victory over Bilbao would see them climb above Valencia into fifth place.