Saturday, 8 July 2006 9:58 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South Melbourne travels to Knights Stadium this weekend in what promises to be a fiery encounter.
After trouncing the Knights 7-0 month or so ago, a triumph which lead to the immediate resignation of Knights Coach and favourite son Josip Biskic, the Sunshine-based club will be fired up and out for revenge.
South Melbourne have recently experienced a slight dip in form with their past two encounters – against Preston and Essendon – seeing John Anastasiadis’s men blow a goal advantage to eventually settle for a draw.
Conversely the Knights continue to linger around the fringes of the top six and come into Sunday’s encounter in patchy form, being unable to string a run of 2-3 wins together to really push for a finals position.
The Knights possess one of the best keepers in the Vodafone Cup in Adrian Cagalj and with the silky play of midfield/winger Goran Talevski and the finishing ability of Nathan Caldwell who has bagged 6 goals so far this term; South will have to be in good form, alert and playing with confidence to nullify the Knights’ attacking strengths.
Early in the week South were dealt a significant blow with the news that club captain Vaughn Coveny has accepted an A-League offer from Newcastle and will hence be unable to see out the rest of the season.
Coveny is expected to play on Sunday in what may loom as his final match wearing the famous blue and white.
Classy young winger Vasilios Natsioulas remains in doubt with a muscle injury which may pave the way for exciting youngster Jose Vasquez to make his debut for South. Vasquez is a skillful and attacking winger with his South American heritage reflecting in his play.
Midfielder Antonio Naglieri also returned from length injury during last week’s match with Essendon and will be better off for his run and getting a full week’s worth of training under his belt.
South has picked up only 6 points on their travels this season with the players more than aware of their failure to perform away from the comforts of Bob Jane Stadium.
Coach John Anastasiadis will no doubt be looking for 3 points to consolidate second position as well as build the player’s confidence coming into the business end of the season.