DAVID SMITH - Thursday, May 12, 2011
Etchu Tabe and RoPS will try to continue their unbeaten start to the season while Josh Wicks will be manning the nets for Mariehamn as the Veikkausliiga's third round of action gets underway.
RoPS - JJK Jyväskylä
After scoring a last-minute equalizer to rescue a point at Mariehamn in Monday action, Etchu Tabe and RoPS will try to break away from the pack when they host JJK Jyväskylä on Thursday evening.
Tabe has been one of the big contributors for RoPS on their return to the Finnish top flight, anchoring the back line and even adding a point-saving goal in their last outing.
Two games into the Veikkausliiga season, the northernmost team in the Finnish top flight is locked in a five-way tie in second place on four points, ahead of most of the pack but just trailing Mariehamn by way of goal differential.
Their opponents JJK are one of the other teams currently sitting on four points, and rode a strong defensive performance along with a late goal to come out winners in their Monday-night game over MyPa.
FC Haka - IFK Mariehamn
Josh Wicks and Mason Trafford should be in Mariehamn's starting lineup on Friday afternoon when the team tries to run their unbeaten streak to three on their trip to Haka Valkeakoski
Defender Giuseppe Funicello has not yet found his way onto Mariehamn's bench and will hope for his first call-up to the first team.
Mariehamn blew their chance at a share of first place on Monday, letting their lead against RoPS evaporate in the last seconds of the game.
While they are still technically in second, they are tied on points with the four teams below, and lead merely by way of goal differential.
Haka is also sitting on four points heading into the game, having earned a strong 2-1 road win over FF Jaro on Monday night thanks to a 77th-minute strike by brand-new Irish import Shane Robinson.
With all players available for selection, Mariehamn should field the same starting squad as their first two games.
Haka are also reporting no absences to their squad.