DAVID SMITH - Thursday, August 21, 2014
Conor O'Brien will hope for his Austrian Bundesliga debut in the Wiener-Wacker derby while Shawn Barry and Linz host on the Erste Liga leaders Liefering.
SC Wiener Neustadt - FC Admira Wacker
Conor O'Brien will hope to lend a helping hand to ailing SC Wiener Neustadt on Saturday as the last-place team takes on FC Admira Wacker in hopes of earning their first win of the season.
O'Brien and his new team have been waiting patiently for his work permit to be approved, and the club's sporting director indicated in statements to the local media that they were finally expecting everything to be ready to go in time for Saturday's game.
His help can't come soon enough, as the team has been by far the worst in Austria's top division this season. Through five games, they have only managed a single draw, giving up a shocking 17 goals to opposing teams in the process.
Most recently, they were beaten 3-0 by SV Grödig, and attaining any positive result, preferably a win, in Saturday's contest is absolutely necessary to avoid falling even deeper into the hole at the bottom of the standings so early in the season.
Their opponents, FC Admira Wacker, are also coming off a 3-0 loss, although suffering such a defeat at the hands of league leader Red Bull Salzburg can be considered less of an embarrassment than how other teams have fared against the league giants.
Neustadt can take some hope from the fact that they did come up winners in three of the four league meetings between the teams last season, but will need to find a way to break free of their slump, preferably with their new American midfielder in tow, in order to carry the trend into the new season.
Neustadt will be missing team captain Dennis Mimm after the defender underwent knee surgery, and fellow defender Mark Prettenthaler is questionable with a thigh problem.
Wacker will be missing Willfried Domoraud, Maximilian Sax, Bernhard Schachner and Benjamin Sulimani all due to injury.
LASK Linz - FC Liefering
Shawn Barry and Linz have a chance to jump to the top of the Erste Liga standings on Friday evening when they host on league leaders FC Liefering.
Liefering backup keeper Keith Cardona is not expected to be in uniform for the visitors.
Linz returned to their earlier strong form last weekend, winning a 2-0 road contest against SV Horn.
The three points kept them within shooting distance of table-topping Liefering, and a big victory on Friday would give them the edge on goal differential.
This will be no small task, as the farm club of Red Bull Salzburg has been the dominant team in the division so far, with five wins and a draw through their first six.
Linz are not reporting any absences while Liefering are missing suspended midfielder Konrad Laimer and injured forward Raphael Dwamena.