South Melbourne returns to the Lakeside on Friday night for what shapes as a vital home clash against North Geelong Warriors.
SMFC lost their first game of the season last Friday night against Oakleigh Cannons. The 2-0 defeat at Oakleigh’s Jack Edwards Reserve ended an incredible 19 game unbeaten run in the league.
The loss was further soured by a serious knee injury to midfielder Dane Milovanovic, and suspensions to leading goal scorer Milos Lujic and captain Michael Eagar. Lujic picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning he will miss only this clash, however Eagar’s red card means he will serve at least a two game suspension.
South added three signings to their squad on the final day of the NPL transfer window in the shape of midfielder Thomas Lakic from Melbourne Victory’s NPL1 side and goalkeeper Fraser McLaren from Kingston City. The duo join Chris Irwin (pictured), Andy Bevin and Nick Morton as the club’s mid-season additions.
In Lujic’s absence, it is expected that Tasmanian Andy Brennan will start his game as the side’s frontline striker, with Leigh Minopoulos or David Stirton likely to receive a call-up to the side’s starting line-up.
Despite the setbacks, Chris Taylor’s men will be confident of getting back on track against the bottom-placed Warriors, who have struggled to adapt to life in Victoria’s top flight after being promoted last season.
North Geelong have picked up just five points in the first half of this campaign, with their only win coming in the form of an astonishing 6-1 dismantling of Green Gully earlier in the season.
The Warriors have lost star winger Robbie Zadworny to Melbourne Knights in the transfer window, however have picked up a trio of players from NPL1 in Yusuf Yusuf (St. Albans) Ridvan Saglam (Whittlesea Ranges) Gareth Richards (Moreland City).
The last time these two sides met, South took the points in a 3-0 victory at Elcho Park, with goals to David Stirton, Milos Lujic and Andy Brennan.
The clash between South Melbourne and North Geelong Warriors kicks off at 8.30pm at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park. Those unable to make the match can follow proceedings on the club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, using the handles #SMFC and #PS4NPLVIC.