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Two Up Three Down: Port FC vs Nakhon Ratchasima FC Preview

 

It’s Port vs Korat this Saturday; after the long international break it’s good to be looking at a very winnable home fixture at PAT. Both teams go into this match with something to play for. At the top of the table Port have to hope Buriram and Chiang Rai slip up and give us a chance to jump into either of the two top spots. At the bottom Korat should be OK, but need a couple of good results to avoid falling into the bottom three.

With five matches to go it’s definitely time for a graphic showing the run in situation. We’ll start with our visitors.

 

 

With 28 points they are at the top of the pack, but they look to have one of the most difficult run-ins along with Chiang Mai. Korat should be saved by their last two games against Chainat and Sukhothai, but I’m sure they would dearly love to get a point or more at PAT on Saturday. One point would mean a lot to them in the chase for safety so we can’t expect too much from them. Korat showed in the home match with Doumbia (11) bombing on and Lee Won-Jae (15) holding it together at the back that they had enough to match Port for 80 minutes with 11 vs 11 before the Adisorn (13) red card. This side might be intimidated by the crowd but they won’t be too scared of their opponents.

 

 

Port are realistically out of the hunt at the top of the table. We would need Chiang Rai and Buriram to slip up twice in the run in. While that’s not impossible, it’s more likely we will slip up ourselves. The Bangkok United away match killed off Port’s chances in the league for me. I would love to be proved wrong, anyway we will see.

I think Port will be undone by the consistency of others around them at the top as much as Korat will be saved by the inconsistency of others around them at the bottom.

Korat’s terrible recent form has put them in the danger zone. With four losses and one draw in the last five, Korat have now thrown out man mountain manager Joksic. Their new manager is Chalermwoot Sa-ngapol. In his playing days he was once described as the “Thai Glen Hoddle”, a great player with crisp passing and a pristine mullet.

 

 

He is now a solid journeyman manager. He has not made any comments about the previous lives of disabled people thus far. In the last three years he’s gone from Sisaket, to Thailand’s Under 19 team, to Super Power, to Sisaket, to Udon Thai, to Sukothai, to Ayutthaya, and now to Korat. Port have to be wary of the new manager bounce but we should have enough quality to get the result.

 

 

 

Doumbia “Henri”(11) is always going to be dangerous and if given enough room he could snatch a goal. They also have the very impressive attacking midfielder Amadou Ouattara (81), another Ivorian and formerly of PTT Rayong and Navy who has picked up a couple of goals lately. Together with Leandro Assumpcao (7) Korat have enough attacking quality to create chances. Why are they in such a state? Amadou and Doumbia “Henri” are solid choices along with the two centre backs captain Chalermpong (4) and Lee Won-Jae but apart from that the team has been mixed and matched in an attempt to find a winning formula that just hasn’t materialised . Port are clear favourites but we have to be clinical, we can’t afford to go a goal down to a team that would love an opportunity to park the bus.

 

Port Side

Tanaboon (71) will not be joining us on Saturday, his first haul of four yellows sees him suspended. This finally provides us with a look at who Choke’s second choice is in the league squad. Todsapol (6) should surely get the nod here. But I would’ve played Todsapol over Tanaboon anyway. Suspension may just lead us into improving our starting 11. Although Todsapol is a quality player it’s been so long since he has had a full competitive match so there has to be a worry about his match fitness.

Pakorn (7) and Kevin (97) both played in the Police friendly on the 5th September. Choke has not been a big Pakorn fan. It’s possible he has been reading my previous previews. However even the most ardent of Pakorn haters would still struggle to pick Josimar (30) over a fully fit Pakorn.

Kevin might return to the squad, and he deserves his place if he plays like the Kevin of 2018. If he continues his mediocre 2019 form, Steuble (15) should be brought right back in. Kevin is a good player but early 2019 has been poor by his own high standards, possibly injury affected poor play. It’s great to know we have Steuble (15) there keeping Kevin honest, and also providing cover at right back.

 

Line Up

Choke’s starting choices are only one or two picks from and ideal line up, but as the trip to Bangkok United showed us this is a good team but one that can be beaten by a decent well organised side. Fortunately Korat were, and hopefully still are a pretty disorganized poor side.

This is the team I think he will line up with on Saturday the italics show the team I think he should start with.

Rattanai

Nittipong (34)                Dolah(4)     Todssapol(6)   Steuble(15)

Go Suel Ki (8)

Josimar(30)(> Pakorn(7)) Suarez(5) Siwakorn (16) Bodin(10)

Rolando(99)(>Josimar(30)

 

Prediction

Port should be good enough to take advantage of a team in a downward spiral. Port to win 3-1.

 

A Final Note

 

The last match took place in the long shadow cast by the tragic minibus crash, involving Korat native Spider Ming. Free food was laid on at the away end of Korat’s stadium and during the mid game rain delay there was a random Home vs Away fan group football song sing off. I think Port are planning to lay on some food at the away end to return Korat’s kindness. There will be a friendly atmosphere for this one this week folks. Enjoy the festival of football.

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True Sport 6  at 6.00 p.m. on Saturday 15 September, 2019. For those who can’t make it to the ground, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

Port End 10 Years of Hurt, Turning the Sandpit in to a Moshpit

 

What a result!

Indulge me if you will as I attempt to see through the fog of beers and cheers and try to remember what was a truly enjoyable once upon a (life)-time experience.

If memory serves me correctly, an evenly balanced relatively non-eventful first half sparked into life around the 30 minute mark as Port began to exploit ‘Tongs weakness on the left-side of their midfield and defense. 4 clear cut chances came and went as Port peppered coaches’ favourite ‘danger area’ in and around the apex of the six yard box. (More of this later.)

As is always the case, first touch football tore ‘Tongs defence to shreds time and again only for Port to graciously fail to take advantage, the worst culprit being Josimar who came on as a replacement for Pakorn who got all carried away with the occasion and uncharacteristically tracked back, injuring himself in the process. Admittedly playing out of position on the right side of midfield, somehow the Brazilian striker contrived to scoop a ‘sitter’ over the bar when passing the ball into an empty net seemed the easier option. Cue hands in heads all round and seeds were sown in the back of Port minds that, ‘please god it’s not going to be one of those nights is it?” sprouted around the stadium as half-time arrived with Port in the ascendancy but profligate and still level.

 

 

All the half-time chat was whether Port could maintain their dominance or would ‘Tong, having surely been on the end of a rocket from their management team during the break, come out guns-a-blazing determined to make Port pay for their generosity.

Ten, or was it twelve, or fifteen beer-befuddled minutes into the second half and Port and Josimar finally made amends and sent the sell-out crowd into paroxysms of delirium as a flowing one-touch move (funny how that works eh?) down ‘Tongs right this time ended with an overlapping Suarez pulling the ball back into the perfect place at the apex of the near six-yard box for Sumanya to gleefully pass-smash the ball into the net at the keepers near post. Cue pandemonium in the stands and on the touchline as even the owner, un-missable in her fetching candy-striped pants, joined in the players’ celebration and relief.

 

 

Could they do it?

A brief period of Port ascendancy ensued as they sought the second killer goal, but soon they were visibly tiring, especially Sumanya who had also clearly decided that having scored he could now spend the rest of the game showboating and basking in the glory of his goal.

As Port retreated closer and closer to their own goal allowing ‘Tong to push on dominating possession and territory, supporters hearts crept closer and closer to their mouths. Would they hang on or would ‘Tong fashion a largely undeserved equalizer?

A couple of astute substitutions allowed Port to start threatening on the break and in turn the defence grew in stature, confidence and self-belief as time and again different Port players stepped up to the plate and snuffed out ‘Tongs attacks before they could develop into truly heart-stopping chances.

As the 90th minute approached Port swept forward on the counter-attack and just when it looked like a fast-flowing one-touch move (yet again) had ended with Port losing the ball, the impressively hard-working Josimar nipped in at the perfect time at the edge of the penalty area to calmly curl the ball past an unsighted keeper into the inside of the same near post as the first goal and round off of a truly splendid copy-book counter-attack.

 

 

Krakatoa couldn’t have competed with the eruption from the stands as older fans suffered pulled groins and tweaked hamstrings celebrating the second sweet goal of the game which guaranteed a thoroughly deserved victory and meant the 3 minutes of added time were simply 3 minutes of singing and basking in the glory of a first home win against the hated ‘Tong in 10 years as well as becoming a prelude to several hours of post-match moshing, quaffing and even talking pleasantly to plain-clothesed farang ‘Tong fans who’d had the balls to brave the potentially hostile Port terraces only to witness their team handed a comprehensive footballing lesson and a thoroughly comprehensive defeat.

Yes friends this was one of ‘those’ games, one of those ‘you should have been there’ nights. One that will live long in the memories of those 8,000 or so fortunate fans who went mental from minute one to minute 90 and beyond. Well, for those that can remember it of course.  I think I was there, wasn’t I?

Until the next time.

Now, bring on Bangkok United!

 

I Want It Trat Away: Trat FC vs. Port FC Preview

 

Trat’s promotion to T1 last year sparked hope of an away day in the eastern province, perhaps most famous for the tourist paradise of its Koh Chang archipelago. That hope started to fade as the schedule was released and showed that the game would be one of the much dreaded midweek fixtures and, considering our lengthy winless run that finally ended on Sunday, it’s hard to see too many of the Port faithful dealing with the logistics of the roughly five hour one-way drive under those circumstances. Oh well, maybe next year…

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Toby Time Wins: Port FC 1-0 Sukhothai FC

The pioneering 20th century social anthropologist E.E. Evans-Pritchard conducted most of his early research on the Azande, an indigenous African tribe living primarily in what is modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo. His fieldwork formed the basis of his classic text Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande. Published in 1937, the book champions the relativist theory of psychological attribution. Are you still following me? Well here’s a good example from the book; 8 Azande people die when a termite infested door frame causes a house to collapse. Evans-Pritchard clearly sees evidence of termites in several areas but the Azande dismiss this notion and conclude that it was caused by witchcraft and start conducting elaborate ceremonies and rituals to regain the favour of the spirits and deities they worshipped. So who is right? Rational thought would automatically conclude that the termites caused it, but what if some higher power could control or effect them to carry out this whole episode that we know nothing about? Evans-Pritchard concluded that both were right; if your personal belief system convinces you it is true then it is true.

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Bats in the PAT: Port FC vs. Sukhothai FC Preview

 

Port’s woeful run of form continued last Saturday with PTT Rayong snatching a victory against a team who looked flat, unconfident and lacked ideas. Jadet’s final throw of the dice as Port coach was a midfield diamond system which, despite a fortuitous win against Muangthong, didn’t click at all in the two games in which it was tried.

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Kannoo Believe It? Thitipan Deal On?

 

The familiar feeling is back. After a quiet start to the transfer window, there are so many transfers in and out of Port at various stages of completion I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. But seeing as we’re here, I’ll tell you what I do and don’t know, and what I think might end up happening.

 

What We Know

Done deals get cancelled, so we don’t really know anything, but the incoming transfers that everyone seems to be able to agree on are Fox Hunt duo Jirattikan Vapilai and Nutchanon Sojit, and Go Seul-ki, who has joined Port on loan from champs Buriram.

Out of the exit door have gone Jetjinn Sriprach and Sammy Slot while loanee Terens Puhiri has rejoined Borneo FC and Somprasong Promsorn has just joined Khon Kaen.

Likely Deals

There are a host of deals that some are claiming are confirmed, but haven’t yet gone on most websites’ lists of done deals. We expect some of them to be confirmed in the new year, but it’s possible that some will still be called off. The players in question are all from Bangkok United: Sansern Limwattana, Ernesto Phumipha and Sumanya Purisai.

We can’t very well have Kim Sung Hwan still on the books next season, so one way or another he’s sure to be out of the door. Apparently he’s not making things easy though, with a rumoured loan move to Suphanburi not yet any closer than when it was proposed to him by the club. Bajram Nebihi is also in the unwanted foreigner category, but he’ll be straight off as soon as he’s got his last month’s salary in the bank.

 

Thitipan’s Japanese Deal Off

BG’s superstar midfielder and my man crush Thitipan Puangchan has gone from being an outside transfer punt to maybe a 50/50, with his proposed move to Japan apparently dead in the water. Last time I wrote about him, the rumour was that if his Japanese move fell through he would join Port on loan, and now the latest news is that Bangkok United have joined the race for Thailand’s most exciting central midfielder.

This deal certainly could happen for Port, but at the moment there are no details. This deal could also affect the transfer of Bangkok United midfielder and recently named 2018 Thai League MVP Sumanya Purisai. With Sumanya carrying a hefty 40 million baht price tag, and the Thitipan loan deal sure to cost a pretty penny in loan fees and wages, we imagine that with Go’s signing already confirmed, Port will want one, but not two more good but expensive midfielders on the books. This is pure speculation on my part, though, so take it for what it’s worth.

 

Kan-Who?

 

 

Now I’ll be honest, this is the lowest kind of rumour. Port’s Wikipedia page currently shows young forward Sittichok Kannoo as a Port player, but I haven’t heard any noise anywhere else hinting that this deal could be a goer. Anyway, he’s one of the more promising Thai forwards around, with an excellent record for Thai youth teams at all levels. He has struggled a bit stepping up to T1 level though, netting 6 in 26 for Honda in 2017, then 1 in 5 for Bangkok United last season. Anyway, we need more depth up top, and he’s young and promising. Can’t argue with the logic.

 

My Prediction

Jirattikan and Go will stay, Nutchanon, as one of 5 left backs, could very easily be gone before the start of the season. Either that or he’ll stay but only play for Port B. Ernesto will arrive, meaning that Yossawat leaves on a permanent deal. Sansern will join, but Sumanya’s deal will fall through at the last minute, as Thitipan makes a dramatic late move to Khlongtoei. Sittichok will rightly deny any link to Port, and the only remnant of the rumour will be this Transfer Talk. Port will go on to sign another striker who won’t be as good as Arthit, because, let’s face it, no one is as good as Arthit. Port will not sign a right back, and end up playing Adisorn there in some critical league games, where he will run around a lot before giving away penalties which cost us points.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Sumanya, My Lord, Sumanya

 

Sumanya Purisai is Port’s first big signing for the 2019 season, although his acquisition hasn’t yet been confirmed by Port. The move has, however, been all but confirmed by Bangkok United coach Mano Polking, who cryptically stated “Actually easy to explain… but not here!” when asked why he was letting one his best performers in 2018 leave the club. The reported fee is a whopping 40 million baht which, bearing in mind Sumanya is 32 years old, is quite a statement of intent from Port, and could well be the easy explanation Mano is teasing us with. This transfer could be interpreted as a pretty shocking example of overpaying for an aging player, but I’ll shelve the skepticism for now as I think this is an excellent signing from the perspective of improving Port’s chances next season.

 

 

Sumanya is an attacking midfielder capable of playing in an advanced role (think Suarez) or a central role (think Siwakorn). Considering Port’s propensity to rely on width and their lack of penetration through the middle in recent seasons, playing Sumanya and Suarez together with a solid defensive midfielder behind them (think Anon or Port’s Asian quota midfielder) could really address this imbalance. Sumanya would offer Port a much more potent attacking threat, while also providing competition for set-pieces, which Pakorn has had a monopoly on for the last few seasons.

This is a really positive move from Port management, who have had a few fans worried by the lack of early movement this transfer window. Those doubters can now be assured that the club intends to strengthen their squad once again this season – whatever the cost – and with another big announcement possibly set for the coming days (my lips are sealed… for now) Port could yet be fielding a significantly stronger first XI than they did in 2018.

As always, new signings go straight on to our Squad Page where we have player profiles including everything you need to know about our players. Sumanya’s is here.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Thit or GTFO

 

Well, once the midfield rumours started, the genie was never going back in the bottle. Port’s search for a new engine room has been revving up, or at the very least, speculation surrounding Port’s transfer dealings has been.

Once again there are two rumours to report, and once again I find myself loving one and hating the other. Let’s start with the good stuff this time, shall we?

 

 

Anyone who has listened to me drone on about the Thai national team will know that I am absolutely enamored by Thitipan Puangchan. He’s my kind of footballer. But before I start the love-in, let’s have a look at where things stand career-wise.

One of the senior members of Thailand’s ‘golden generation’, Thitipan started out – as almost all of them did – with Muangthong. Between 2011 and 2016 he played over 100 top tier games – including a loan spell with Suphanburi – but towards the end of his time with Muangthong he was seeing very little action, and finally in 2017 opted to move to Chiang Rai in search of more regular football.

It was a timely decision, with Thitipan’s impressive exploits at youth level becoming a more and more distant memory, and it took him just one game to launch himself back in to Thai football’s consciousness with a stunning hattrick. He would go on to be named in the T1 team of the season, before Bangkok Glass made him their 30 million baht marquee signing in 2018.

It’s fair to say that things didn’t go quite so well from there. It probably didn’t help that Thitipan appeared to have embarked on a competitive eating career in the off season and at the start of the 2018 season was looking rather more like a football than a footballer. It didn’t take one of Thailand’s hardest working footballers long to shed the Pakorn bodysuit, but it didn’t make much difference to Glass’ fortunes. Thitipan’s performances were certainly not to blame for BG’s eventual relegation – his 5 goals and 6 assists were a pretty reasonable return – but neither he or his team played anywhere near their potential, before relegation was confirmed on an insane final day of the season.

 

 

But whilst Thitipan was struggling for his club he was absolutely excelling for the national team. He was the player of the tournament in Thailand’s 2017 King’s Cup victory, and was again among Thailand best performers in 2018. He has become absolutely indispensable to coach Rajevac, who trusts Thitipan enough to stick him just about anywhere on the pitch – he played central midfield, right midfield and right back for spells in the recent Suzuki Cup semi-final.

This brings us up to his current situation. Apparently, 25 year old Thitipan is on the hunt for a J League club to take his career to the next level, but right now no deal has been signed. The reporting over the last couple of days is that if no deal is reached with a Japanese suitor then Thitipan’s fall-back option is a season-long loan deal with Port. GET IN!

Now, what kind of player is he? The quintessential box-to-box midfielder. He has a superb work rate, he can tackle (and does so in an overzealous way every 30 seconds or so) and he is always on the lookout for an opportunity to drive the team forward with a searching pass or a powerful run. A little known fact about Thitipan? He has never not been on a yellow card. He spends entire games wincing and looking as tired as a fat kid who has just ran a marathon, but never stops going and never gives up. He shouts at his team mates and gets pissed off when they don’t put in the work. He is also capable of the most magnificent moments of laughably awful football you’ve ever seen. Sometimes when he shoots, he misses. The corner flag. When he scores he celebrates like Marco Tardelli. Sometimes he trips over the ball and falls on his arse. He’ll be on the right wing, and 5 seconds later he’ll be playing in goal. You never know what you’re going to get with Thitipan, but you can sure it’ll either be good or it’ll be funny.

Can you tell that I kind of like the guy? Come on Port, sign him up!

 

 

The other rumour is about a bog-standard left-footed right winger from Chiang Rai called Sivakorn Tiatrakul who would have no business joining Port, and would be behind Pakorn, Nurul and Bodin in the pecking order. Blah.

Can you tell I’m not particularly enthused? Come on Port, sign Thitipan!

Please.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Port Court National Team Duo

 

After a shockingly quiet off-season so far, Port rumours have become the talk of the town in the last couple of days. We’ve been opining for some time that in order to make any kind of league challenge Port’s central midfield would need bolstering, and this is very much in line with the big rumour of the moment, concerning two Thai national team stars.

The rumour which started all of this said that the Thai Busquets (more on that nickname later) Tanaboon Kesarat and Bangkok United’s prolific midfielder Sumanya Purisai would be playing together next season at a Bangkok club. The link was quickly made with Port, but what really makes these rumours sound likely was the follow-up story that Madame Pang intends to announce three big signings after the new year.

Whilst the bigger name of the two is undoubtedly Tanaboon, I’m firmly of the opinion that Sumanya is a much better fit for Port in 2019. Or pretty much any team at any time for that matter.

One of the most highly rated stars of Thailand’s ‘golden generation’, Tanaboon is lauded for his ability to play in both central defence and defensive midfield, hence the link to Barcelona’s wily, horrible but bloody brilliant master of the dark arts Sergio Busquets. The problem is that two more different players have seldom existed.

While Busquets is famous for his gamesmanship and exists almost exclusively in the grey area between legal and illegal, Tanaboon wouldn’t recognize a tactical foul if it clipped his ankles from behind, just as he was ready to break forward. Nor would he recognize a gratuitously firm challenge if it knocked him on his arse. He’s a technically sound player, I’ll give him that, and his positional sense is better than most, but what Tanaboon lacks for me is the aggression and nous needed to be an effective defensive midfielder. Put simply, he’s just a bit of a wuss. One only has to watch him in partnership with his polar opposite Thitipan in the Thai midfield to see what I’m talking about. Whilst Thitipan incessantly harasses and fouls opposition players off the ball and drives forward on the ball, Tanaboon calmly stands around in his position and passes the ball sideways and backwards. It’s all well and good when you’re winning, but in big games and tough situations, I just can’t be persuaded that Tanaboon is good enough for Port, let alone Thailand.

 

 

Sumanya, on the other hand, was one of the stars of 2018, and would fit nicely in to Port’s midfield. The 32 year old struck a remarkable 12 goals and provided 8 assists last season for Bangkok United, with the hallmark of his game being his shooting. Where most Thai midfielders will almost always look for the extra pass, Sumanya is quite happy to have a pop at goal, and is also useful from dead ball situations, as Malaysia found out on Wednesday just seconds after he was substituted on. He’s obviously not a long term solution, but on current form he’s among the best Thai attacking midfielders around, and would surely displace Siwakorn in Port’s midfield. And seeing the pair of them doing shooting practice side by side would be a thing of hilarious beauty.

 


 

In closing, it’s probably worth mentioning that I’m still more than a little annoyed about Thailand’s pathetic exit against Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup last night and that some the shade I’m throwing Tanaboon’s way is not entirely unrelated to that. I’ve thought for some time that he’s Thailand’s most overrated player, but his signing would certainly be a positive statement of intent if nothing else. Needless to say his name and number won’t be going on my 2019 shirt if we do sign him. Oh, and he used to play for the scum.

 

Big Game Hunting: Suphanburi FC vs. Port FC, 11 May 2018

 

After a stonking 4-0 win away from home last weekend Port are sure to face a tougher test at Suphanburi Provincial Stadium this Friday. The Swatcats’ almost complete reliance on their foreign striker meant that Port’s defence went largely untroubled last week, but Suphanburi are a much more balanced outfit with a lot more to offer. The War Elephants have gone ten games unbeaten including consecutive victories with clean sheets to boot, so Port will need to upset the form books again to come away with what would be a huge three points for manager Jadet. Port’s boss still looks far from secure in his job with the mid-season break approaching, but beating the likes of Suphanburi would go a long way to convincing the powers that be that he is the man to take Port up to the higher reaches of the table. It’s 3rd vs. 5th. Come on, lads!

 

Suphanburi FC

Players to Watch

 

Well, it wouldn’t be T1 unless the main man was a foreign striker. Romulo (9) is in his first season in Thai football, having played for several clubs in his native Brazil before moving to top-flight Swedish side Hammarby IF. Whilst Romulo didn’t bang in goals consistently he became a cult hero for his hattrick and a few other memorable performances against Kevin Deeromram’s former club and Hammarby’s big rivals Djurgarden. Romulo has continued to cement his reputation as a big-game player for Suphanburi this season by finding the net against top teams like Bangkok United and Buriram, as well as minnows like Muangthong. He’s tall enough to do a bit of damage in the air, and on his day can be pretty useful on the ground, too. Let’s just hope no one has told him Port are a big team nowadays!

 

Romulo

 

Romulo’s supporting cast going forward will be any two of three promising Thai forwards. First – because he’s my favourite – is Tanasith Sripala (11), also known as Taodinho. This Ronaldinho lookalike is fortunately not a Ronaldinho playalike, although he tries his best. He was one of Thailand’s most exciting youngsters a couple of years ago, but hasn’t quite kicked on and added end product to his undoubted ability. Second is Chananan Pombuppha (10). This fella, presumably named by whichever of his parents has a stuttuttutter, started out as an out and out striker, but has been moved on to the wing at Suphanburi. He doesn’t look nearly as useful out there as he does through the middle, but he’s got a good finish on him and is definitely one to watch out for. This third forward is the youngest of the trio, and probably the most dangerous of the bunch on current form. Sirimongkhon Jitbanjong (38) is just 20 years old and has only played a handful of games in T1, but his pace and work rate will certainly be a handful for Port’s full backs. He’s scored two goals in under 300 minutes on the pitch in his breakout season.

 

Tanasith, Chananan and Sirimongkhon

 

Port fans may remember solid holding midfielder Adul Lahso from his red card in last season’s thrilling 3-2 encounter at PAT Stadium, but unfortunately Suphanburi’s hard man has done a knee ligament and is out for the foreseeable future. Taking his place is a man who couldn’t look more different to the diminutive bald Adul if he tried. Naruphon Putsorn (7) is tall with a big man-bun, and interestingly is one of the few Thai players to have plied his trade in the UK. Naruphol played for TNS in Wales, before stints in America and Holland. He has played with Bangkok United and Buriram since moving to Thailand, and he will be partnered by Japanese veteran Takafumi Akahoshi (37).

 

Adul and Naruphon

 

At the back is the familiar figure of Anderson dos Santos (3). The Brazilian centre back has been in Thai football since 2010, and is a hero to fans of former club Chonburi. He’s big, powerful and very dangerous from set-pieces. In a three-man back line Anderson will be joined by the appropriately named Suphan (26) and the recipient of an impressive 7 yellow cards to date Tinnakorn Asurin (33). Siwakorn: meet your idol.

 

Anderson dos Santos

 

Form

 

Suphanburi’s unbeaten run does include an awful lot of draws. Their last 6 saw 4 consecutive ties with Buriram, Muangthong, Ratchaburi and Sukhothai, before they finally got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Air Force and kept the momentum last week by grinding out a 1-0 win over Ubon.

 

Port FC

Is The Swagger Back?

 

One of the most promising moments in the 4-0 thrashing of Korat was Boskovic (23) starting to look confident again. Bole showed his prowess in front of goal with a clinical finish while clean through on the ‘keeper, then – in stark contrast to a week earlier – jumped at the chance to score from the spot. Maybe it’s the return of Suarez (5), maybe it’s the voice of Tim Russell ringing in his ears; whatever it is, the Dragan is breathing fire once again, and that’s what we want to see!

Suarez will have kept his place after returning from injury last week and Nurul (31) scored a crucial goal while looking lively throughout, but what are Port going to do with Pakorn (7)? Well, I wouldn’t mind seeing The Midfield Monk dropped this week for Bodin (10), who has put in a couple of suave performances of late. Despite his unerring inability to miss chances in a laughably predictable way, Siwakorn (16) will once again partner Kim (8) in midfield.

In the defence things are looking very settled. Nitipong (34), Rochela (22), Dolah (4) and Kevin (97) have all made their positions their own, although I’m not sure why Worawut (36) returned to the starting XI while Rattanai (17) was absent from the matchday squad last week. Knowing Rattanai, it’s most likely an injury. Still, both are quality goalkeepers so it matters little which one starts.

Terens (28) is back in training after picking up a knock that his kept him out for the last couple of weeks, but it’s unknown whether or not he will fit in time for Friday.

Dolah, Todsapol (6), Rochela, Boskovic and Nurul are all just one yellow card away from a suspension, so let’s hope they don’t all get booked at once!

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

The match will be shown live on True 4U and True Sport 2 at 20:00 on Friday 11 May, 2018. For those who can’t make it to Suphanburi Provincial Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. We’re expecting another good turn out at the bar this week, so come along and don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.