Thursday, 21 February 2008 4:23 PM
By John Kyrou & George Kouroumalis
In what promises to be a mouth watering clash on Sunday, South Melbourne plays host to Foxtel Cup newcomers Coburg United, who will make their first appearance at Bob Jane Stadium as a Premier League outfit.
Following a narrow and somewhat unlucky 2-1 derby defeat last weekend against Heidelberg, South will be looking forward to playing on the newly constructed home pitch at Bob Jane Stadium, with the hope that it can produce an attacking and match winning brand of football.
Coach John Anastasiadis will be reluctant to make any significant structural changes to the line-up, with the defensive unit most likely remaining the same as last week.
This includes veteran Dean Anastasiadis in between the sticks once again, with his back four consisting of central defenders Shane Nunes and Steven O’Dor, whilst Rama Tavsancioglu and Adam Van Dommele will be asked to fill the right and left hand defensive positions once again.
The midfield will be an interesting area that the coach may tinker with slightly, in an attempt to try and combat the experience of Coburg in the middle of the park. In the Heidelberg game the experienced and committed Sam Poutakidis was asked to play in the defensive midfield role, a position that he occupied throughout the pre-season.
Assisting Poutakidis in the middle will be Fernando, who struggled against Heidelberg due to a limited pre-season because of Futsal commitments with the Australian national team.
The other midfield positions are seemingly open to a number of candidates, with the possibility of the coach going with the same duo who played against Heidelberg in Goran Zoric and Gianni De Nittis. Zoric impressed all with his pace and awareness in and around the attacking area, with the diminutive midfielder scoring on his South Melbourne debut. De Nittis, if selected, will make his 50th appearance for the blue and whites on Sunday.
Other players knocking on the door for midfield positions will be Bill Natsioulas, Hamlet Armenian and Yusuf Yusuf. All three came onto the field last week with mixed results, but all have proven themselves to be more than capable midfielders in the Victorian Premier League and can all determine the result of a game off their own boot.
In the attacking third, South will expect the previously mentioned midfielders to continue to be prominent when pushing forward and to actively assist the experienced front duo, Nathan Caldwell and Ricky Diaco, who will be crying out for quality service to come in their direction.
Coburg will not be an easy opponent for the boys from lakeside, with the newcomers comfortably pushing aside Western Suburbs 3-0 in a lop-sided round 1 contest last week.
South fans will be all too familiar with certain members of the Coburg side and in particular the threat that each one possesses. These included former South Melbourne NSL players Andy Vlahos and Anthony Magnacca, who both are expected to play integral parts in the midfield and attacking area, in an attempt to try and upset South at home.
Former South Melbourne captain and veteran Tansel Baser will not be making his debut for the Coburg side, with the defender still plagued with a groin injury that ruined most of his 2007 season with South.
With such a promising encounter on the horizon, South encourages everyone to attend in order to get that last dose of “Summer Football by the Lake” before the colder temperatures start to creep in.
Memberships and merchandise will also be on sale, as well as pre-purchased items being available for collection before and after kick-off.