PREVIEW: WEEKEND FINNISH ACTION
The Veikkausliiga finally kicks off this weekend with Daniel Antunez hoping to see time with FC Inter as Finland starts to stumble out of the long offseason.
FC Inter Turku - IFK Mariehamn
Inter kick off the season at home in Veritas Stadion Monday night against the Swedish speaking islanders from Åland.
Daniel Antunez isn't likely to start but could make an appearance as a substitute after joining Inter from Kakkonen club Pallo-Iirot during the winter.
Inter Defender Sami Sanevuori has not been training with the team while coming back from injury and is not expected to feature.
Patrick Bantamoi, the Sierra Leone native who won last year's Veikkausliiga goalkeeper of the year award, has been out since the beginning of February with a back injury. Striker Timo Furholm is also out of consideration with a heel injury.
In what is expected to his last season at the helm Inter coach Job Dragtsma will look to return his team to the glory days of 2008 when they won the Veikkausliiga championship.
The Dutchman, a former coach at FC Volendam in his homeland, is widely rumoured to be the favorite to take over HJK Helsinki at the end of the season.
Inter finished last season in fifth place in the Veikkausliiga table while Mariehamn overachieved to finish a surprising fourth.
Both Greg Eckhardt and Brian Pope are out injured and will have to wait to make their Veikkausliiga debuts as Vaasan Palloseura welcome JJK to the coast Sunday.
Echkhardt is out temporarily with a hamstring pull while Pope's absence is due to a shoulder injury and could last quite a bit longer.
The VPS - JJK may end up being postponed due to the bad field conditions at Hietalahti, typical of the early Finnish season.