DAVID SMITH - Saturday, July 2, 2011
Josh Wicks and Mason Trafford will try to help Mariehamn earn a win on the road while Jeremy Vuolo and AC Oulu can surge into the Ykkönen's first place should they manage a victory at home.
RoPS - IFK Mariehamn
Josh Wicks will be in Mariehamn's goal and Mason Trafford could be back in the defense after serving his red card suspension as the Islanders look for a road victory against hapless RoPS on Sunday.
RoPS defender Etchu Tabe will likely miss the game as he is still recovering from a nagging groin injury.
Mariehamn have begun to show signs of breaking clear of a growing slump which has given them sight of the top spots of the Veikkausliiga, however will need to notch their first away win in close to two months to keep the momentum going.
Prior to taking four points over their last two contests, the Islanders had managed to lose six of their previous eight in all competitions. A largely lackluster field of teams below the top three has kept them well free of the drop zone even with their poor run, however with the season barely one-third through, their luck may not hold out forever making a win against the current bottom-trawlers an important step.
RoPS have not been so lucky, with a seven-game stretch which has included no wins and just three draws having them bringing up the bottom of the standings.
Tabe has missed several games with a groin injury, and his absence has been noted, most noticeably on Wednesday night when the team was swept aside by an otherwise unspectacular FF Jaro team by an incredible 8-2 score.
In addition to Tabe, RoPS could also be without Mika Gröhn, who has been struggling with a hamstring problem, and Jarkko Isteri, who has missed time with an ankle injury.
Mariehamn are reporting no absences to their squad.
PS Kemi Kings - FC Viikingit Helsinki
Daniel Stevens and Kemi Kings will try to brush off last weekend's blow-out loss when they host fifth-place FC Viikingit Helsinki on Sunday.
A squalid second-half performance by Kemi's defense last weekend saw the team allow five goals to PK-35 in a shocking half-hour period of time.
They will need to find a way plug the holes in the back line or they could suffer a similar fate against a Viikingit team which has shown the occasional tendency for the odd offensive explosion.
While just winning two of their last four games, they netted a total of seven goals between the two, and are looking to work their way towards the top of the standings, where they only trail the league-leading trio by four points.
Neither team is currently reporting no injuries or suspensions in their team while
Jeremy Vuolo was in the nets for AC Oulu as they earned a point at home against JIPPO Joensuu with a 1-1 draw.
Kellan Wilson is away from the team on personal matters and will not be present on Sunday when HIFK host FC Hämeenlinna.