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Bouncebackability: Port FC vs. Ubon UMT, 11 March 2018

 

 

Port will look to bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat at Bangkok Glass with a victory against mid-table Ubon on Sunday. Ubon has become a bit of a home for abandoned lions, with The Eagles swooping in for precocious yet unwanted cub Yossawat Montha (32), preening lioness Piyachart Tamaphan (99) and the one and only Scar: Wuttichai Tathong (8).

Both Port and Ubon have started the season decisively; neither have yet to register a single draw. Whereas Port leaped out of the gates with three consecutive wins before being pegged back at Leo Stadium last week, Ubon have bounced alternately from defeat to victory, both winning and losing 1-0 and 3-1 in their opening four fixtures. Their latest game saw them overcome a lackluster Air Force 1-0 at UMT Stadium, securing the win in the 80th minute thanks to substitute Thaweekun Thong-on (28).

Whilst Port are clear favourites to take all three points at home, they can expect to face a tough test against Ubon, who have got their points the hard way: with gritty, battling performances. With former Scottish top-tier manager Mixu Paatelainen in charge, don’t be surprised if Ubon set up like British underdogs, put 10 men behind the ball and try and frustrate Port. It will be interesting to see what Jadet has planned if Ubon do try and park the bus.

 

Ubon UMT

Players to Watch

 

Left footed Port loanee Yossawat, who has curiously played three of Ubon’s four games on the right hand side, is ineligible, but both Piyachart and Wuttichai are in contention to start. Piyachart, who really impressed when joining The Eagles on loan in the second half of 2017, has scored already this season, but was dropped last week. With Yossawat unable to play though, he’s probably favourite to start on Sunday. Wuttichai picked up a knock after a T1 Team of the Week performance in attacking midfield against Prachuap and has missed out in the last two games, but Scar is now back in training, and looking to add to his tally of two yellow cards in two games. On that front, I have absolute faith in his abilities.

 

Ubon’s Mane Man and Scar

 

Now on to some actual talent. Angolan forward Aguinaldo (9) will lead the line, and although he has just one goal to his name in his opening four games, he looks pretty useful. Although he’s got the height to do damage in the air, Aguinaldo’s best work is done with the ball at his feet, so Port will need to come up with a much better defensive performance than they managed next week to nullify him. He may be backed up by ASEAN quota player Mark Hartmann (20) – an English-Filipino forward with the likes of Wessex League heavy hitters Blackfield & Langley on his resume.

 

Aguinaldo and Hartmann

 

Ubon’s big team news this week is the return, for the first time in 2018, of Japanese wing wizard Kenta Yamazaki (14). Kenta has been at Ubon since 2015, and has performed at a consistently high level for the last three seasons, with jinking forward runs being a hallmark of his game. With Kevin and Nurul coming at him down Port’s left hand side though, Kenta – who lacks match-fitness – may find himself doing less jinking and an uncomfortable amount of defending.

 

Kenta Yamazaki

 

Ubon have struggled to replace a few of last season’s top players, but they haven’t missed anyone as much as Victor Cardozo. The new foreign defensive player is Brinner (6), who hasn’t done an awful lot wrong, but will be very hard-pushed to match Victor’s excellence at the back or his incredible goal haul, let alone both. The big man netted 20 times in 72 games for Ubon. From centre back. Also in the defence is Thai national team legend – now 35 years old – Suree Sukha (25) who, whilst technically excellent on the ball, could struggle for pace against Port’s free-flowing attack, assuming it turns up this week.

 

Suree and Brinner

 

Port FC

Bouncebackability

 

It’s time to see what this Port squad is really made of. After an abominable first half display against Bangkok Glass, Port came out for the second half and showed that they were capable of out-playing their opponents, but it was too little too late. Now Jadet really needs another decisive win to get Port back on track. Whether he does that by making tactical alterations or simply demanding better performances from his players we shall have to see. First things first, a fit goalkeeper would be nice!

Port have been hit by their first injury crisis of the season, which saw all three first team goalkeepers making simultaneous hospital visits. Thankfully, there has been footage of Rattanai (17) bouncing around the goal in training, although he was later pictured with what looked very much like clingfilm adorning his dodgy shoulder. With the fitness of Worawut (36) and Watchara (1) still in question, Port B stopper Anipong Kijkam (81) could make it on to the bench for the first time, after he was left out in Port B’s last game, presumably as a precaution.

 

Anipong Kijkam

 

Assuming that Todsapol (6) has returned to full fitness (a wildly optimistic assumption by all accounts), it is safe to say (no it isn’t) that he will be lining up alongside Rochela (22) in defence, with Nitipong (34) and Kevin (97) as full backs. It’s set to be a big month for Kevin, who has been called up to the national team for the upcoming King’s Cup, but will have to play much better than he did against Glass to usurp Theerathon in the first XI. The less said about Dolah’s (4) defensive performance the better.

Kim (8) was another of Port’s major under-performers, and will have to put it another authoritative display if he wants to prove that his performance against Muangthong was the rule, not the exception. Siwakorn (16) will, as always, sit alongside Kim in the heart of the midfield.

With Pakorn (7) once again getting overlooked in Thailand’s King’s Cup squad – while Nurul (31) and Bodin (10) were selected – it begs the question… what does Thai boss Rajevac see that we don’t? It’s certainly not a wildly surprising decision that he would choose Nurul ahead of Pakorn on the right, whilst Bodin is competing for a different position altogether on the left, but how is sharp-elbowed Police Tero winger Mongkol Tossakrai still getting in to the squad ahead of Pakorn? To be fair to him, he does have an impressive goal-scoring record at international record, but to compare Mongkol and Pakorn since the start of last season is to compare a player with 9 combined goals and assists to a player with 23. Maybe Rajevac watched Pakorn last week. He was truly awful, but along with Nurul will probably keep his place on Sunday, with Bodin continuing on the bench.

Boskovic (23) and Suarez (5) are dead certs in the attack, and something tells me the Montenegrin is going to be hungrier than ever for a goal this Sunday. After failing to find the net in three games and passing up a huge chance late on last week, it’s time for Boskovic to remind PAT Stadium just what he can do in front of goal.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sport 2 at 19:00 on Sunday 11 March, 2018. For those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match with sound if you ask them nicely. Mention the Sandpit or wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Training Day

 

Port returned to training on Thursday, giving fans the opportunity to see some new arrivals for the first time, as well as bid farewell to some of the old guard.

Among those spotted in action at PAT Stadium for the first time were attacking midfielder Bajram Nebihi, wingers Chakrit Rawanprakone and Terens Puhiri and defensive midfielders Athibordee Atirat and Kim Sung-Hwan. It seems that fellow new arrival Dragan Boskovic has not yet returned from his holidays, but is expected back soon.

 

We think Jadet probably prefers standing next to Terens Puhiri (r) rather than Bajram Nebihi (l)

 

The super-fans from Facebook group เกรียนสิงห์ท่าเรือ also caught up with Port’s latest signing around the back of Zone A. The man in question is 23 year old forward Arthit Butjinda, who joins from Buriram and will add depth to Port’s striking options, although his rather underwhelming record in lower divisions suggests that depth is about all he will be adding. Well, that’s the current state of Thai strikers for you! If Arthit doesn’t whet your appetite, bear in mind that Muangthong have just brought in Chenrop Sampaodi from Police Tero, who has netted just 3 times in 61 T1 appearances.

 

Arthiti Butjinda. Photo by เกรียนสิงห์ท่าเรือ

 

For those player-spotting in the coming days, Nebihi was seen wearing number 18, Chakrit number 8, Puhiri number 88, Athibordee number 92, Kim number 39, Nurul number 31, and Bodin number 15, although these could well change. Additionally, Pakorn has switched to wearing number 7, and two players from the youth team are taking part in first team training. Forward Chanayut Jejue ha been seen wearing number 29 and 99 shirts, while Sarawin Phakdeekan is wearing Pravinwat’s number 55 shirt (his loan from Bangkok Glass was only 6 months, and is now finished.)

 

Chanayut and Sarawin

 

There were also some players in plain-clothes who were bidding farewell to their teammates, namely Pakasit Sansook (2), Ekkapoom Potharungroj (8), Wuttichai Tathong (14) and Piyachart Tamaphan (23). These four, all over the age of thirty, were very unlikely to see any significant action in Port’s much-improved 2018 squad, and have been sensibly released. Pakasit, who has been running a coaching school with former national team star Datsakorn Thonglao, may well decide to hang up his boots, but Piyachart will return to Ubon UMT, where he spent the second half of 2017 on loan. He will be joined in Isaan by Wuttichai, and both will be coached by former Port boss Gary Stevens next season. Whilst we’re largely glad to see fat being trimmed from the squad, it’s always sad to see a fan-favourite like Ekkapoom move on. He has yet to find a new club, but we hope he finds himself playing regularly in either T1 or T2 next season!

An additional departure which was announced on Wednesday was Narakorn Khana, who along with Ekkapoom fell victim to the influx of new wingers. Narakorn was scooped up from BBCU after their liquidation last season, but failed to make an appearance in the league, and will be playing for Navy in 2018. It can also now be confirmed that defender Pravinwat Boonyong, who came in on loan after Hansson’s exit last season, has returned to parent club Bangkok Glass.

 


 

Phew! There’s of course a lot going on, with more arrivals and departures expected over the coming days, so we will do out best to keep you posted. Happy New Year from Transfer Talk!

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Essombe Signed By Port; Nabbed by Police

 

Port’s annual striker search is well and truly in overdrive, with rummy rumours about huge names all over the shop in the most recent round of gossip. The four names currently in the frame to replace Josimar are Bajram Nebihi, Dellatorre, Marcel Essombe and the big prize Jaja Coelho. Prepare yourself, because this story could well have a real sting in the tail! In other rumours, Port are in for two top Thai wingers, both of which would be excellent if pricey signings, and a couple of Port’s old guard are rumoured to be heading to Isaan.

 

The Foreign Strikers

 

Let’s start with the strikers. In ascending order of excitingness…

 

 

We covered the rumours linking Bajram Nebihi to Port in the last Transfer Talk and the conclusion was that as a replacement for Suarez he would be a good acquisition, but as an out-and-out striker he certainly isn’t what we are after. With the all-star cast on our radar, Nebihi is certainly the runt of the litter. Pass…

 

 

Dellatorre is a big, strong Brazilian forward who has been at Suphanburi for the last 2 seasons. He had a bit of an underwhelming campaign in 2016, notching just 10 times in 26 starts, but really clicked in to gear at the start of 2017, scoring 8 goals and making a further 5 in his first 13 games. Dellatorre struggled with injuries in the second half of the campaign, but still managed to net 14 goals in his 22 appearances, including 3 in 2 games against Port. If Dellatorre shows the form he usually displays against Port in the orange and blue next season, we will most certainly have one of the better forwards in the league.

 

 

Rumours have been going around about Ratchaburi’s Cameroonian forward Marcel Essombe for a while now, and the story has really heated up in the last few hours. I’m not going to lie, this is going to get wierd. Essombe was one of the stars of the first half of 2017, scoring 13 goals in his first 14 starts, and although he fell out of favour towards the end of the season, he still finished with 19 goals. Now, the latest news, which we have seen on both Goal.com and SMM Sport is that Essombe has already signed with Port, but has been loaned straight out to Police Tero for 2018. All together now… WHAT THE F*CK?! Are we about to see Maranhao-level tomfoolery rear its’ ugly head again? If this story is true, it would suggest that Port have either signed a bigger name already, in which case I’m not sure why they see the need to sign Essombe and then loan him out, OR they are playing a very risky game indeed by putting their eggs in what is most likely a Jaja shaped basket. Speaking of which…

 

 

The man who’s name just won’t go away, and undoubtedly Port’s main target for the last few months has been Buriram’s Brazilian battering ram Jaja Coelho. Yes, the man who bent time and space to convince the linesman that he was onside when Port visited the Thunder Castle has confirmed that he will not be at Buriram next season, whilst Muangthong will reportedly be sticking with Heberty and Assumpcao as their Brazilian forward line in 2018, meaning that the race for the 34-goal strikers’ signature is legitimately wide open. With Port having thrown away the chance for a top signing already, they’d better pray that they are in the box seat for Jaja’s coveted signature.

 

The Thai Wingers

Port To Sign Dom? Things Bodin Well…

 

In Thai transfers, Port are apparently in the frame for two potentially major signings. Youngster Nurul Sriyankem had an absolutely blistering year in 2017, scoring 8 goals and assisting an outrageous 18 for Chonburi, but has a 30 million baht price on his head, which apparently Buriram and Chiang Rai are both willing to stump up. Port can consider themselves well and truly in third place in the hunt to sign the pint-sized superstar.

 

 

In an interesting twist, though, if Buriram get their man then Port’s chances of landing 22 year old Buriram winger Bodin Phala could well get a huge boost. Port are apparently interested in the cultured attacking player – nicknamed Dom – who ran rings around Port defenders in a Bangkok Glass shirt back in 2015, and he could be available for a much more affordable 7 million baht. Interestingly, Bodin represented Port Futsal Club back in 2013 as a teenager. His excellent close control and short, sharp passing at speed is clearly a product of his futsal background. Bodin could also be a more sensible signing as he has more experience of playing on the left – where Port are in desperate need of an upgrade – than Nurul. There are srong rumours that this deal is close to being completed if it hasn’t been already. Exciting times…

 

The Dead Wood

 

Of course there are also rumours about outgoings too, and mercifully Wuttichai appears to be at the front of the exit queue. Behind him, waiting patiently for a permanent Port exit is left back Piyachart Tamaphan, who was on loan at Ubon in the second half of 2017. Both are apparently on Sisaket’s radar, and it would make a lot of sense for all involved for these moves to get done.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk – 21 Dec 2016

 

Today, Tom’s Transfer Talk brings you the seasonal Port FC Advent Calendar edition. You remember what is was like when you were a kid and you used to stare at that final box – the Christmas Day one – but you knew you couldn’t open it yet. The box was slightly bigger than all the others. What was going to be in there? It might just be a slightly bigger chocolate, but it might be something completely different. The suspense!

Anyway, that’s how we feel when we hear rumours from Siam Sport saying that Port are making a marquee Argentine signing, but we’re not going to find out who it is until after the New Year. We wouldn’t be much of a transfer column unless we speculated on who the arrival might be, so with our journalistic integrity on the line we’re going to say that it’s almost certainly Leo Messi. At the very least, we can’t rule it out. It could be Messi. Anything could be in that box.

Panpanpong Pinkong, 29

Leaving the potential signing of multiple Ballon d’Or winners aside, let’s move on to the not quite so interesting but slightly more realistic business of the verbally challenging trialists Panpanpong Pinkong and Tatchanon Nakarawong.

Tongue-twisting left back Panpanpong, formerly of Bangkok United and Osotspa, has been training with Port for at least a week, and has taken part in the last two friendlies, being preferred to Piyachart (23) in what looks like Jadet’s current first XI. Panpanpong has not been particularly impressive, however, whereas Piyachart was Port’s best player in the second half against Pahang FA. Whilst we think that the 29 year old could make a useful addition to the squad, it is doubtful whether he will be first choice if he is eventually signed.

20 year old Tatchanon, previously of Army United, has also featured with the first XI, playing alongside impressive new signing Sergio Suarez and Sivakorn (16) in a midfield three. Tatchanon has gone about his business quietly, keeping play ticking over and allowing Suarez and Sivakorn to thrive, but again has not really done anything to make himself stand out. At just 20, he could be one for the future, but is unlikely to feature prominently in the TPL next season, even if he does make the move to Khlong Toei.

Saer Sene, 30

Finally, we are once again left scratching our heads over French trialist Saer Sene. He did what he needed to do and scored against Pahang, but is he fit? And is he really that good? There’s undoubtedly potential there, but in such an important position, and with flops Brent McGrath, Kayne Vincent and Thiago Cunha still fresh in the memory, can Port afford to take a risk up front?

With the squad scheduled to go on their New Year holidays on the 24th, it’s possible that we have seen the last of Sene, and that the mystery Argentine will be with the squad next time they meet. Or not. It is all gossip after all, and we still have no idea what’s in that damn box!