Friday, 4 May 2007 2:53 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
This Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium South take on the A.I.S in what looms as a must win game for John Anastasiadis’s men.
South haven’t won a match for over a month and have slipped dangerously near the relegation zone.
The A.I.S under the direction of Stephen O’Connor have made an admirable start to life in the Foxtel Cup sitting on 10 points and in 11th position.
O’Connor’s team boasts some of the most talented and up-and-coming youngsters in Australian football who have greatly benefited from playing competitive matches on a week-to-week basis.
Last week however, O’Connor’s men received a wake-up call, losing 3-0 to Heidelberg and no doubt fully realizing the standard of Victoria’s premier football competition. The A.I.S’s thumping couldn’t have come at a worse time for the A.I.S with Champions South Melbourne absolutely desperate for the three points.
South lost 1-3 to Altona in last week’s grand final replay and has been suffering from a lack of finishing prowess as well as a creaky defence which has failed to live up to its star billing. As a result the Champions see themselves languishing in 13th position, only one point clear of relegation.
South will receive a major boost this week with the return of inspirational defensive midfielder Tansel Baser who has finished serving his 8-match suspension. Baser’s experience and motivating personality has been sorely missed this season with South often struggling to control the centre of the park.
Even though not match fit, Baser will most probably be rushed straight back into the starting lineup with Sammy DeVito returning to his defensive duties after doing an admirable job filling in for ex-Trabzonspor player.
South forward Gianni De Nittis didn’t play last week after injuring himself during last Saturday’s training session. The young striker remains doubtful this weekend.