Posts

A Moment’s Silence: Port FC vs. Nakhon Ratchasima FC Preview

 

Port kick off their 2020 campaign with what looks to be the ideal kind of fixture. A home match against Korat, who are expected to finish mid to bottom half this season, may well allow an under-performing Port to still eke out victory, which is what we need after a less than promising pre-season. Rather than labouring this point once again, I will point you towards Dom’s, Tim’s and my 2020 Previews, which examined our off-season shortcomings in excruciating detail.

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Chairfree PAT Of Dreams: Tom’s 2020 Season Preview

 

Port move in to 2020 with a major trophy victory from last season still fresh in the memory, as well as a pre-season trophy that’s even fresher. We’ve also made arguably the biggest signing of the window, bring in our rivals’ best player for a big pot of cash. So we should be looking at more silverware this year right, and maybe even that coveted T1 title?

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Port FC 2-0 Police Tero: Five Things We Learned

 

 

Port beat Police Tero in their first home pre-season friendly last night, thanks to spectacular free-kicks from Pakorn (9) and new signing Heberty (TBC). It was a comfortable workout for Choke’s team against eager but limited opposition who rarely troubled Port’s defence and look a good bet to go straight back down to T2 this season. Port looked lively and raring to go and and if Ceres Negros were watching they’ll be cancelling those Tokyo hotel reservations today. Here are five things we took away from the game…

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Tom’s Transfer Talk: New Year Transfer Roundup

 

We’ve had a lot of comings and goings this transfer window, and it’s not even 2020 yet. By my count there have been 14 arrivals (7 permanent signings, 2 loan signings and 5 players returning from loans) and 9 departures (6 permanent departures, 1 loan departure and 2 players returning to their parent club after loans).

Quite a busy window then, although most arrivals and departures haven’t done much to effect the first choice XI that will take to the pitch most weeks.

The most notable arrival is of course Heberty, who joins on loan from Muangthong, and is expected to be Port’s key player next year. Tanasith may also threaten to break in to the first XI, although he’ll have to dislodge Pakorn first, which is no mean feat. Adisak will likely see significant playing time from the bench, and Jaturapat has an outside chance of challenging for a berth at left back, although if there is no more transfer activity in that position, he will likely remain down the pecking order.

There are players capable of making a contribution returning from loan too, but the fact that they were loaned out in the first place tells you all you need to know about the regard they are held in at Port. Things don’t look good then for Arthit, who made a big contribution from the bench last season, Yossawat, who had a successful loan at Nongbua, and Sansern, a highly rated youngster outside of PAT Stadium.

Notable exits include some big name players. Boskovic was released from Port some time ago, and has been spotted training with Chonburi recently, although no deal has been announced yet. 2018 Thai League MVP Sumanya has been snapped up by BG Pathum Thani, and Port’s marquee Thai arrival from 2017 Nurul has been loaned to Ratchaburi after struggling for form in 2019. One of Port’s vice-captains Adisorn Daeng-rueng has been released, while fellow defensive midfielder Anon has finally been let go after being continually overlooked by multiple Port managers.

Striker Rolando Blackburn, who will be remembered for some key goals and some terrible performances, has returned to his parent club after his 6 month loan spell, as has Piyachanok Darit, who made a solitary league appearance for Port.

Here are all the moves in full.

 

Ins

Tanasith Sripala (Suphanburi)

Nattawut Sombatyotha (Ratchaburi)

Kanarin Thawornsak (Ratchaburi)

Tanakorn Dangthong (Army)

Heberty Fernandes (loan from Muangthong)

Chatmongkol Thongkiri (Chainat)

Jaturaphat Satham (Chainat)

Patchara Chainarong (Debsirin School)

Adisak Kraisorn (loan from Muangthong – pending confirmation)

 

Returning from Loan

Chakrit Rawanprakone (loan to Customs complete)

Yossawat Montha (loan to Nongbua complete)

Arthit Boodjinda (loan to Chonburi complete)

Pinyo Inpinit (loan to Nongbua complete)

Sansern Limwattana (loan to Ayutthaya complete)

 

Outs

Sumanya Purisai (BG Pathum Thani)

Adisorn Daeng-rueng (released)

Panpanpong Pinkong (released)

Anon Samakorn (Nakhon Ratchasima)

Jirattikan Vapilai (released)

Dragan Boskovic (released)

Nurul Sriyankem (loan to Ratchaburi)

 

Loan Expired

Piyachanok Darit (loan from BG complete)

Rolando Blackburn (loan from The Strongest complete)

 

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‘Berty? Mee! Striker Joins Port

 

As we predicted in yesterday’s Transfer Talk, Brazilian-Timorese (cough) forward Heberty Fernandes was officially announced as a Port player last night. Heberty joins on a season-long loan from rivals Muangthong where he has spent the last three seasons. It’s somewhat unusual that a T1 team would loan their star player to a rival for a season, but this is Thai football and stranger things will no doubt happen before the 2020 season begins.

As we observed yesterday, Heberty has an absolutely stellar scoring record in Thai football, hitting 65 in 90 appearances for Ratchaburi from 2014-16, and a further 51 in 79 for Muangthong from 2017-19. Ironically he was on Port’s radar at the start of the 2017 season but Pang baulked at his wage demands; now, with the T1 title a much more realistic target than it was back then, she’s decided to splash the cash on T1’s probable top earner.

So welcome to Port Heberty! We wish you all the best and hope that you can break the curse that seems to afflict any previously prolific strikers as soon as they run out at the PAT.

Heberty Player Bio

 

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Tim’s Transfer Talk: ‘Berty Booster?

 

Welcome to the latest Sandpit transfer rumour roundup, and we have three zingers for you today. The first one concerns T1 goal machine, Brazilian-Timorese forward Heberty Fernandes. Reports in the Thai press suggest that the prolific scorer is poised to join Port on a season-long loan from rivals Muangthong, at a head-spinning salary of 2mBHT per month. Ye gods.

 

 

 

Heberty has an extraordinary goal record in the Thai top flight. After a 3-year spell at Ratchaburi, in which he netted 65 goals in 90 games, he moved to Muangthong in 2017 (after almost signing for Port, who were then reluctant to pay his salary) where he scored 51 in 79. I would say he’d be a guaranteed goalscorer, but we know what a strikers’ graveyard Port is and the last time we signed a prolific Brazilian-Timorese striker it did not end well. There’s also the question of where Heberty would fit in. He’s not an out & out no9, more of a 10 or a winger, so either Suarez makes way so Heb can play in his AM slot with Josimar (or AN Other) up front, or he gets shoehorned into a position in which he’s not entirely comfortable, and as we know from experience at Port, the latter is far more likely. But whatever happens, his goal and assist record suggest he’d be a cracking signing, which would both strengthen Port and weaken one of their rivals.

On the subject of strikers, we hear that Josimar picked up an injury in training this week which could see him out of action for the next 5-6 weeks, so the chances of Port moving for a big name striker just shot up. Which is where our next rumour comes in. You may want to sit down for this one, but Port have been linked with former Arsenal & Juventus striker Nicklas Bendtner. Before you get too excited/angry (depending on your views on one of football’s more colourful characters), bear in mind that the only substance to this rumour is that Bendtner’s agent has been hawking his client around various clubs, and presumably Port were one of those who picked up the phone. Lord Bendtner may not be the most prolific scorer, but there’s no doubt that if he took a move to Thailand seriously he would probably have a field day against Thai defences, though given his penchant for nightlife he may find Bangkok somewhat distracting, and he’d be ill advised to continue his hobby of assaulting taxi drivers given that the local cabbies are generally very sensitive to criticism, tooled up, and ripped to the tits on M-150. File this one under ‘almost certainly won’t happen’.

 

 

Our final rumour concerns perennial Sandpit rumour Thitiphan, recently returned to Bangkok Glass following a successful year-long loan at J-League club Oia Trinita. The Thai press are claiming that Port have struck a swap deal involving the chunky midfielder and left-back Kevin Deeromram. This would be a shame, as in my opinion Kevin is one of the most talented players at Port and, on his day, the best LB in the league, and is the kind of young player the future of the club should be built around. That said, he is somewhat injury-prone, the arrival of Martin Steuble has made him somewhat more expendable, and with Pang seemingly positioning Port as the club of choice for Thai national team players, his less than enthusiastic attitude to playing for his country could also count against him. Whether Port need yet another midfielder is highly debatable, but there’s no doubt Big Thits would be a great signing and my Sandpit colleague Tom Earls would need a cold shower before every game if it happened. File this one under ‘highly likely’.

For the latest news on these and other rumours, keep watching this space!

 

Know Your Enemy: Buri Bury Bangkok

 

T1 fans enjoyed a breathtaking weekend of action this week in undoubtedly the season’s most exciting gameweek so far. The upshot of all the hectic action is that the cream is slowly starting to rise to the top, although The Killer Wasp once again defiantly refuses to adhere to the natural order of things. For once I have a longlist rather than a shortlist of players who impressed enough to be considered for player of the week, inspired by a small clique of T1 goalkeepers’ collective decision to finally do something besides flailing around and spilling crosses.

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MaranhaOUT – Transfer Window Closes; Squad List Announced

 

Official squad lists have appeared on the official Thai League website, and the transfer window will tonight be slammed shut, meaning that months of speculation and rumours can finally be put to bed.

Port’s top scorer in 2016 – Rodrigo Maranhao – has not made the cut, but will be staying with Port in 2017 after a deadline day move to Navy fell through. We can also now say with certainty that a couple of rumoured moves have not panned out. Armenian forward Edgar Manucharyan has not joined Port, despite reports in the Armenian media claiming that he had, and former Ratchaburi star Heberty Fernandes has also failed to agree terms. His reported wage demand of $800,000 per year was never likely to be met by Port, and it is now definite that Port have missed out on one of the top players in the TPL in 2016.

The man Port have chosen to fill the fifth foreign player spot is Brazilian forward Josimar Rodrigues, who signed last month having banged in 16 goals in 30 games for Army last year. It is thought that Josimar was not included in Port’s first two match-day squads because the club was still holding out hope of making a late deal with Heberty, but now that the deal is dead, Josimar should at least be on the bench for the trip to Bangkok Utd.

In other late transfer news, Port’s loan move for Chainat player Surachet Ngamtip has fallen through, reportedly because of injury concerns, and Surachet has instead joined T1 rivals Pattaya Utd. Other players to have missed out on a place in the squad are youngsters Patrick Bentley, Techin Muktarakosa and Danudech Trimongkolchok. The trio were in and around the squad in pre-season, but featured either very little or not at all, making it pretty unsurprising that they have not been included. They may continue training with the first team squad, or perhaps be loaned out to gain experience in a lower division.

Port’s complete 2017 Squad can be viewed here. We have included players who have not made the T1 squad but are still at the club, and marked them with an asterisk*.

 

Josimarvellous! Port Get a Brazilian

 

Last minute transfer drama is unfolding just as Port prepare to get the T1 season underway on Saturday. After injury unfortunately ended Asdrubal Padron’s Port career before it had begun, many assumed that Rodrigo Maranhao – who has been waiting patiently for his chance – would be stepping in to take his place in the squad, but the litany of rumours since suggest otherwise.

Port have been linked with 3 Brazilian forwards in the last week, likely indicating that they are intent on going in to the season with 6 foreign players, even though only 5 can be named in the T1 squad. Maranhao must be wondering what he has done wrong!

Firstly, Port were linked with Brazilian former Chonburi striker (where have we heard that before?) Leandro Assumpcao, who scored 21 goals in 61 games for the Sharks between 2015 and 2016. Whilst many players have made the switch from Chonburi to Khlong Toei in recent seasons, the latest news suggests that Assumpcao will be joining Sisaket for the 2017 season.

 

Leandro Assumpcao scores for Chonburi

 

Next came the rumour that really made Port fans giddy with excitement. Heberty Fernandes, the former Ratchaburi star who fired in an outrageous 65 goals in 90 games for Port’s 2017 opening day opponents, was linked with a move to PAT Stadium. With Port fans briefly dreaming of a Top 6 finish, or maybe even a push for a spot in the AFC Champions League, reality soon hit home when it was reported that Port were not going to be able to afford his $800,000 per year wage demands. It was nice while it lasted!

 

Heberty Fernandes at Ratchaburi

 

Finally came talk that former Army striker Josimar Rodrigues was not only being linked with a move, but had been spotted at PAT Stadium. Pictures taken on Thursday afternoon confirm that Josimar was indeed in training on Thursday, so The Sandpit got in touch with the Brazilian who confirmed to us that he will be signing with Port pending a medical at 09:00 on Friday. Josimar scored 16 goals in 30 games in a poor Army Utd side last season, and will be expected to provide competition for Andrija Kaludjerovic to be Port’s first choice striker. Whilst his goal record at Army was undoubtedly impressive, he has struggled to find the net at a few of his former clubs. A solitary goal in 16 games at Tokyo Verdi, then another 1 in 12 games for Al-Fateh SC don’t exactly scream consistency. However good Josimar is, we have to question the wisdom of signing another Brazilian forward to replace Maranhao – who most fans think has earned his chance in T1. Would a left winger or a left back not make more sense?

 

Josimar Rodrigues at PAT Stadium

 

Still, with the signing as yet unconfirmed and more twists and turns still eminently possible, we aren’t counting our chickens just yet. Anyway, isn’t there a game coming up sometime soon to take our minds off all this transfer malarkey?