PREVIEW: PANIONIOS F.C. – ARIS THESSALONIKI
CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Friday, March 19, 2010
The Gods of War roll into Athens on Sunday evening looking for their third consecutive win and a chance to reclaim the fourth spot in the standings.
Eddie Johnson can be expected to make an appearance in the black and gold, and Freddy Adu will make a return to the roster.
With both regulars Sergio Koke and Ronaldo Guiaro serving yellow card suspensions, the Argentine coach will likely slot the Fulham loanee into the right forward position.
After not making the roster for last Wednesday's Greek Cup semifinal win, the 20-year-old Adu will hope Saturday's training will earn him a spot on the bench.
Starting keeper Michalis Sifakis will also not make the trip after injuring his foot during practice this week, leaving the spot in between the posts open for Michal Peškovič.
On a brighter note, Argentine midfielder Dario Fernandez is back in the lineup after a brief return to the injury list.
Following their 1-0 win over Panthrakikos last Sunday, George Paraschos' Blue-Reds sit in eighth with 34 points and look destined to finish the season in the middle of the league standings.
Defender Martin Latka headed home the winner in last weekend's match, their second win in as many games. In their last meeting with Aris, Ghanaian Bennard Yao Kumordzi stole the show with a last-gasp equalizer for the 1-1 result.
Defender Georgios Tzavelas is doubtful after colliding with Dimitris Siovas in Wednesday's practice. Swedish defender Markus Jonsson is back to training and could feature in the game-day lineup.
Most importantly, leading scorer Boško Balaban has returned to his native Croatia for personal reasons and not expected to be available.
The encounter marks the beginning of the final stretch of the season in which the four remaining league games kick off on Sundays at 7pm local time. Referee Marios Lampropoulos will decide the match in Athens' Panionios Stadium.