DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Etchu Tabe and RoPS will try to break their four-game winless streak against HJK while Josh Wicks and Mason Trafford should both be in Mariehamn's starting lineup on their trip to JJK.
HJK Helsinki - Rovaniemi PS
Etchu Tabe will start in defense as usual for RoPS on Wednesday evening when they try to earn their first win in nearly a month as they visit league powerhouse HJK Helsinki.
RoPS could only manage a scoreless deadlock against KuPS in their last game on Sunday, a result which left them with a disappointing haul of just two points from their recent two-game home stand.
Furthermore, this extended their streak without taking all the points to four games, and left them just a single point out of the drop zone.
Unfortunately they must now venture out on the road against one of the toughest teams in the division, as defending champions HJK have won seven of their last eight to climb to within a single point of the league lead.
Their last three games have seen them on a tear, winning by a combined 10-2 margin, with efficient 2-0 shut-out victories in their last two.
The only players in question for RoPS are defenders Mika Gröhn and Thomas Götzl, who have struggled with injuries as of late and missed the team's weekend games.
HJK should have a full squad available for the game.
JJK Jyväskylä - IFK Mariehamn
Josh Wicks should get the start in Mariehamn's goal while Mason Trafford will be directly in front of him in the team's defense as they try to bounce back and take all three points on their trip to JJK Jyväskylä.
Wicks put in a man-of-the-match performance in Mariehamn's Monday-night loss to Veikkausliiga leaders Inter Turku, doing everything within his power and seemingly beyond to keep the opposition from running up the score in a game they clearly dominated.
This was his second consecutive strong start after a short time on the bench, and will almost certainly push the team's coach to give him yet another go between the sticks.
JJK have been one of the surprises of the Veikkausliiga so far in 2011, winning six of their first nine and holding onto third place, still well within reach of the top spot in the division.
They did suffer a slight letdown earlier in the week in only sharing the points with FF Maro, however will be confident of getting a result in their home stadium, where they have taken a perfect 12 points from 12 through four games.
Mariehamn will still be missing forward Mikko Paatelainen, midfielder Markus Paatelainen and defender Fernando de Abreu all due to injury while JJK are without midfielders Patrick Poutiainen, Eero Korte and Jani Virtanen along with forward Tommi Kari and defender Tuomas Latikka due to various problems.