DAVID SMITH - Thursday, May 19, 2011
Etchu Tabe and RoPS will try to get their season back on track while Josh Wicks and Mason Trafford will hope to be back in Mariehamn's starting lineup as they head cross-country to visit KuPS.
Kuopio PS - IFK Mariehamn
After dropping a close decision to Turku PS in weekend action, IFK Mariehamn and its stable of yanks will look to get back to their winning ways on Thursday as they visit KuPS.
Trafford could very well be in the starting lineup in place of injured defender Fernando de Abreu, who he replaced on Monday, while Josh Wicks will hope to be back in goal after watching in the previous two games, and Giuseppe Funicello is still looking for his first inclusion on the bench.
An early score by their opponents was enough to send Mariehamn tumbling from the lead of the Veikkausliiga standings into fourth place, however they will look to work their way back up into the top three with a win on their trip east.
KuPS are currently out of the relegation zone only on goal differential, a stunning turnaround from their 2010 season in which they were the second best team in Finland.
The season is still young and a win could put the team in the upper half of the standings, however should they concede all the points to Mariehamn at their own home stadium, it could be a strong sign of a long road ahead.
Mariehamn will definitely be without Brazilian defender de Abreu, who was diagnosed with a broken arm and will miss up to four months, but otherwise are sporting a full squad.
KuPS are reporting no absences to their available squad.
MyPa Anjalankoski - Rovaniemi PS
Etchu Tabe and RoPS will try to put a stop to their three game winless streak on Thursday when they pay a visit to last-place MyPa.
The weekend's narrow 1-0 loss at Honka dropped RoPS to the edge of the drop zone, as they are now in the midst of a group of five teams all on four points near the bottom of the standings.
It is perhaps fortunate timing that as they are trying to stop their run of poor results, they will be facing the one team who have been yet unable to post a victory through their first four games.
MyPa looked dismal through their first three games in losing all of them by a combined 4-0 scoreline, however did show a first sign of life over the weekend not only in scoring their first goal of the season, but even working to earn their first point in a 1-1 draw at Inter Turku.
Both teams are reporting full squads for the game.