Friday, 27 June 2008 11:17 AM
In what promises to be a tantalising contest on Sunday, South Melbourne plays host to the Preston Lions at Bob Jane Stadium.
South will go into this game full of confidence, having only lost once in its past eight outings and having just come off an unlucky 0-0 draw against the AIS in Canberra. A win on Sunday can see South sneak its way into the top six, a goal that Michael Michalakopoulos’ men are intent on achieving.
In selection news, Steven O’Dor will once again miss the contest, serving his second week of a two-game suspension. Replacing O’Dor in the heart of defence will be captain Rama Tavsancioglu.
In the middle of the park, Stuart Kelly and Scott MacNicol are both expected to do most of the hard work, whilst supporting Fernando De Moraes by pushing forward whenever possible.
Up front, South will go into the game with Nathan Caldwell leading the charge. The tall striker has had a great month of football since returning to full fitness and will be keen to score on Sunday. Joining him up front will be either Hamlet Armenian or Gianni De Nittis, who missed the AIS match due to an injury.
South will go into the game facing a hungry and determined Preston outfit that will be keen to distance themselves from the bottom four in the league. The reigning Foxtel Cup champions have had a difficult year so far on the field, losing key playing personnel as well as championship winning coach Goran Lozanovski, who was replaced by former NSL player and Preston legend John Markovski.
Despite the major player losses, Preston still posseses a team of players that are more than capable in causing South problems throughout the game. One of these players is veteran Johnny Sapazovski. The hard-working striker is a player that Preston will be reliant on in the attacking third, with his experience and ability to score goals on big occasions being something that the Blues will need to be aware of and combat.
The other key player that will need to be negated is the captain Tony Sterjovski, who will provide the Lions with the driving force from the midfield. With the recent loss of Marinos Gasparis, Preston will need Sterjovski to dominate in the middle if they are to win the game.
The final player that South fans will know quite well will be Lou Acevski in the Preston goal. Acevski is one of the best keepers in the state and his performances over the last few seasons whilst at the Lions and before that at Heidelberg have been exceptionally solid. This includes a Man of the Match display last season against South at Bob Jane Stadium, something that the Preston faithful would be wanting him to emulate on Sunday.
Fans are also reminded that no tickets will be sold on Sunday, with everyone needing to pre-purchase tickets in order to gain access to Bob Jane Stadium. South Melbourne members and sponsors are exempt from the pre-purchase and can show their membership cards along with appropriate photo ID on matchday to enter the ground. Kick-off is at 3pm.
South Melbourne FC vs Preston Lions
When: Sunday, June 29th
Where: Bob Jane Stadium
Kick-off: 3pm (Under 21s at 12.45pm)
Projected Starting line-ups
Tommi Tomich (GK), Sam Poutakidis, Rama Tavsancioglu (C), Adam Van Dommele, Shane Nunes, Stuart Kelly, Scott MacNicol, Goran Zoric, Fernando De Moraes, Hamlet Armenian, Nathan Caldwell
Lou Acevski (GK), Tony Sterjovski (C), Michael Bosevski, Johnny Sapazovski, Nicholas Schwal, Igor Arsovski, Les Anastasiou, Michael Miskas, Robert Dolevski, Chris
Toleski, Blaze Georgioski
Head to head (Games since 2005)
Played : 6
South Melbourne : 3
Preston Lions : 1
Draw : 2
When: Sunday, March 30th
Where: BT Connor Reserve
Score: South Melbourne 2 defeated Preston 1
Form in 2008 (last 3 games)
South Melbourne: Draw, Win, Draw
Preston Lions: Won, Loss, Loss