CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The playoffs wrap up on Wednesday with the fourth Thessaloniki derby this season, offering Freddy Adu and the Martians one more chance at a better Europa League qualification spot.
The 20-year old will hope to feature in Aris boss Hector Cuper's eleven, after serving as an unused substitute in last Sunday's match, while compatriot Eddie Johnson recovers from a hamstring injury with the U.S. national team in Princeton, New Jersey.
With only five points thus far in qualification playoffs, the Black and Golds need nothing short of a win for any chance at leapfrogging AEK Athens and nabbing a spot in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
PAOK coming off a Champions League-clinching performance away at AEK Athens, after which Fernando Santos announced that he would be stepping down as coach of the Black and Whites.
In the 1-0 win, Vladimir Ivić sustained a leg injury and goal-scorer Zlatan Muslimović picked up one too many yellows, making both unavailable for Wednesday night's clash. Also missing out will be midfielder Georgios Fotakis for his red card in the same match.
As for Aris, go-to keeper Michalis Sifakis is questionable with a knee injury and will find out on gameday if he is cleared to tend the posts.
Regulars Athanassios Prittas, Sergio Koke, and Mehdi Nafti have still not recovered from their respective ailments. Centerback Cristian Nasuti will take his turn on the bench for his red card in Sunday's scoreless draw with Olympiacos.
PAOK got the better hand of their earlier meeting in the playoffs, a 2-0 cruising at home thanks to goals from Ivić and Mirko Savini.