Sunday, 28 May 2006 2:16 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
Monday night South Melbourne travel to Epping Stadium hoping to continue their recent run of superb form and to eat away at a top three birth.
South have come off two convincing home performances in which they disposed of last year’s grand finalists Green Gully and Heidelberg, 3-0 and 3-1, in consecutive weeks.
Conversely, the John Markovski-coached Fawkner-Whittlesea have had a patchy run of form, unable to string together consecutive wins and as a result find themselves four points outside the top six in desperate need of maximum points against South if they are to keep up with the pace.
The Stallions however do possess a talented outfit. In Mark Tsiorlas they have a proven goal scorer at Premier League level with the ex-Dutch based striker netting 8 times so far this season.
Tsiorlas has been well supported by ex-A-League midfielder Carl Recchia who has slotted in very well since his return. Recchia has found the net 6 times making him an extremely dangerous threat pushing forward from the centre of the park.
Defender Sasa Ognenovski who has recently signed an A-League contract with the Queensland Roar is another player at the core of Fawkner’s hopes. The colossal defender has also managed to have an effect on the opposite side of the field, popping up for 4 goals with his threat at set pieces in the air, an area which South will have to keep a close eye on.
In the South camp, Captain Vaughn Coveny has been called up to the New Zealand national team and will miss the encounter. Consequently, Trinidad and Tobago import Kevin Nelson will no doubt be given the nod to start in Coveny’s place, presenting the quick forward with a genuine chance to stake his claim for more regular playing time.
Special mention must be made towards the breathtaking form of Brazilian Fernando Moraes as well as recent recruit and diminutive striker Andreas Oliveira.
Both players have shown an almost telepathic understanding for each other’s game in a short period of time and have the ability to tear to shreds any defence in the Vodafone Cup.
Moraes has also been in superb goal-scoring form as of late, managing to score 6 so far this term of which at least 4 have been of the highest order.
Finally, South’s makeshift defence spearheaded by youth continues to impress. Dino Djulbic at 21 is the oldest out of a quartet of players which also includes the likes of Steven O’Dor, James Stefanou and Sammy DeVito. All four players have stepped up tremendously in filling the voids left by the suspension, departure and injuries suffered to players such as Arthur Tsonis, Rama Tavsanscioglu, Con Blatsis and Jonas Salley and therefore must be commended for their efforts.