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The Portlist 7: New Blood

 

With Port’s two debutants, and a very fresh-faced bench on Sunday, it must be time for another Portlist.

 


 

1 (1) Sergio Suarez

Suarez has been out of action for a few weeks now, and my word does it show. Without him in the side, no other player is capable of linking midfield and attack, making Port look disjointed and impotent going forward. Even having missed several games now, Suarez is still Port’s top T1 scorer with 13, although Boskovic has now overtaken him in all competitions.

2 (2) Dragan Boskovic

Ever since that fateful Chainat away clash, we’ve seen a completely different Dragan. He works harder, he links up play better and he has far more confidence in front of goal. That last fact means that he now has 19 goals in all competitions. That’s what he was signed to do.

3 (3) David Rochela

El Capitan continues to be a crucial figure in Port’s team, especially with injuries and suspensions meaning that changes in personnel are now weekly occurrences at the back. Crucially, Rochela’s calming presence helps those who play alongside him.

4 (4) Kevin Deeromram

He flew up the last Portlist, and I see no reason why he doesn’t deserve to stay at number four. Always full of energy, contributing wholeheartedly to the attack and making key defensive contributions too, you couldn’t hope for a better full back in Thai football.

5 (7) Kim Sung Hwan

Kim regains a couple of spots, having slowly but surely settled in to the rhythm of Thai football. He makes fewer errors, adds another dimension to Port’s play with his vision and long passing, and has popped up with the odd goal from midfield, too. We certainly miss him when he’s not in the side. Having said that, the feeling has to be that Port could do more with their Asian quota spot, and it’s hard to imagine former Buriram star Go Seul Ki, who is rumoured to be in talks with Port, not doing a better job than Kim.

6 (5) Nitipong Selanon

There’s no direct competition for Nitipong in this Port squad. Setting aside for a moment how absurd that is, it means that even when he gets sent off and suspended, his importance to Port is just further underlined. With Adisorn suspended, will they use a left back out of position, or deploy a winger like Chakrit or Terens there? One thing is for sure, Port will miss Nitipong on Saturday.

7 (9) Elias Dolah

The second half of the season has gone well for Dolah. He has missed some games with injury and suspension of late, but his performance levels have been consistently good, and it really feels like Port are missing something when he’s not on the field. Todsapol is still a viable alternative, but Dolah does seem to have taken a lengthy stride ahead of him for now.

8 (13) Adisorn Daeng-rueng

He seems to be the answer to just about every question, and he doesn’t seem to do injuries. Whether it’s Suarez, Kim, Siwakorn or Nitipong that’s unavailable, you can be sure Jadet’s solution will involve the little terrier. His performance level rarely changes (for better or worse), and the energy he brings to the team is undeniably a big positive. On Sunday he gave the ball away then won it back twice in the space of 15 seconds. Typical Adisorn.

9 (14) Rattanai Songsangchan

He has cemented his place in the team, and he put in one the best Port goalkeeping performances of the season to give us a fighting chance against Air Force. His distribution is still a constant source of frustration, though. It may have improved significantly from when he first broke in to the team, but he still insists on aiming the ball at Pakorn or Nurul rather than Suarez or Boskovic.

10 (8) Siwakorn Jakkuprasart

Siwakorn continues to drift down the list. He still makes the odd important contribution, but the frustration at his final ball continues to overshadow the neat linkup play he provides in midfield. Last season, I couldn’t have imagined putting Adisorn above Siwakorn, but on the basis of their performance levels throughout 2018, it feels justified.

11 (10) Pakorn Prempak

I just can’t bring myself to drop him lower than eleven, even though I’m monumentally annoyed by his attitude and work rate of late. Why not? Well, he’s the top provider in the entire league for one thing. Yes, he may be just about as frustrating as could be, but he continually, consistently provides chances for his teammates in a way that other wingers like Nurul, Bodin and Terens just don’t. On merit, I’m sorry to say he has to stay in the first XI.

12 (12) Bodin Phala

Bodin is probably closer than he’s been at any point this season to changing that, though. His forced move in to midfield against Sukhothai was the revelation that most of us thought it would be, but with Nurul injured he will be occupying Port’s left wing for the foreseeable future. It’s time to add goals and assists to all that clever one-touch nutmegging stuff now, fella.

13 (15) Todsapol Lated

His goalscoring record for the last two seasons stands at 6 goals in 20 starts. Most Thai strikers would be proud of that strike-rate! Nevertheless, Todsapol has rightly slipped below Dolah in the defensive pecking order, although it’s still a close run thing, and Jadet may well call on him when more mobility is required.

14 (11) Worawut Srisupha

An excellent second choice goalkeeper, and getting plenty of minutes in cup games.

15 (17) Terens Puhiri

Finally, he started a game! In keeping with Terens’ frustrating season though, the red card meant he was asked to play right wing back for the majority of the game and was unable to show the pace and attacking ability Port fans are so clamouring to see.

16 (16) Arthit Butjinda

He’s had a fair few chances this season, but really hasn’t made a convincing argument that he brings much to the team. Yes he can win the ball in the air against most Thai defenders, but more is required in front of goal for Arthit to be anything other than a squad player at Port. Having said all that, experience tells me that as far as Thai strikers go, he’s really no worse than most teams have on their bench.

17 (21) Chakrit Rawanprakone

Is he Port’s second choice right-back as well as fifth choice winger? We will know on Saturday when the first XI is named.

18 (19) Panpanpong Pinkong

Gains a spot based on the fact that Kevin must be bloody knackered, and Panpanpong will be required to actually play some football at some point.

19 (20) Worawut Namvech

Injury and suspension have finally given him a first team chance, and the results are… inconclusive. Worawut was hooked at half time in a tactical switch in his first start, but played 90 minutes in his second. He looked good in the air, solid in the tackle but has to be partially at fault for Air Force’s first goal, where he let Air Force’s only striker have far too much room. Still definitely fourth choice.

20 (NE) Somprasong Promsorn

Somprasong was the first of the three new arrivals from Europe to make a match day squad, and against Air Force he became the first to make an appearance. Looks quick, lively and Jadet must quite like him.

21 (6) Nurul Sriyankem

Poor old Nurul fought his way up to sixth in the Portlist, but his long-term injury and the raft of young wingers chomping at the bit to take his place mean that The Penguin will do well to get back on to the pitch this season. Get well soon, little guy.

22 (26) Pummared Kladkleep

Named in several successive match-day squads due to injuries, although he hasn’t seen a minute of action so far in 2018.

23 (NE) Sammy Slot

I think young Sammy may well move up this list in coming weeks, although that will require Jadet to take something of a leap in faith in a young player, which would be rather out of character.

24 (22) Watchara Buathong

Still third choice goalie, and has even made the odd first team squad, as well as getting a few games for Port B. Is he the most unambitious man in Thai football? Quite possibly.

25 (24) Chanayut Jejue

Chanayut made his first match day squad against Air Force. He impressed in a friendly a couple of months ago, but he really looks like he needs to bulk up in order to make an impact in T1. Should be having daily appointments with Rod Pellegrino!

26 (NE) Anon Samakorn

The final arrival from Europe and the youngest of the three has made one matchday squad, but was not sent to warm up. Don’t expect to see him on the pitch in 2018.

27 (RE) Sarawin Phakdeekan

Reentering the Portlist, having been absent from the last four. The defensive injury crisis looks short-lived though, as will be Sarawin’s time on this list.

28 (23) Chaowala Sriarwut

Poor old Chaowala – Port B’s top scorer despite playing in central midfield – must be wondering if he’s ever going to be given a whiff of hope of first team involvement with the likes of Pummared and now Anon being favoured.

29 (25) Jetjinn Sriprach

Third choice left back behind two left backs who don’t get injured.

30 (27) Anipong Kijkam

With Watchara expected to move on, Anipong was in line for a promotion. Now he’s back where he started, which is still at the head of the Port B queue. Not bad for a young ‘keeper.

99 (99) Tana Chanabut

 

 

What’s that? You thought with Tana leaving Port he would lose his place in the Portlist? What you fail to consider is that Tana is doing far more for Port in a Nongbua Pitchaya shirt than he ever did when he was actually with the club. Promotion hopefuls when the crooner arrived, they have slipped down the T2 table with just one win in six since his arrival. His contribution so far? A yellow card. His shirt number? 69. Lulz

 

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk – Mid-Season Roundup

 

OK, so Tom’s Transfer Talk hasn’t been particularly talkative so far this season. It has been a shockingly quiet transfer window by Port’s recent standards, but there have been a fair amount of low-key moves and juicy rumours, so let’s get up to date with exactly what’s been going on at Port in recent weeks.

 

Departures

First and foremost let’s get the bad news out of the way. Despite his exemplary commitment to training and his tenacious attitude on the pitch, Thai national team star and fan favourite Tana Chanabhut has been shockingly allowed to leave PAT Stadium. To add insult to injury, not only are Port being deprived of the services of one of the finest moustaches in world football, the forward has been sold to T2 team Nongbua Pitchaya FC, a side so far below his level I’m shocked he agreed to the move. No, wait a minute…

 

 

HAHAHAAAAA SCREW YOU TANA, YOU OVERRATED, LAZY GOOD-FOR-NOTHING WASTE OF A SQUAD NUMBER! NEVER, EVER, EVER COME BACK!

Ahhh, that’s better. Anyway, Port have also allowed young right-back Meechok Marhasaranukun to move on. After signing from TOT, Meechok broke in to Port’s starting XI in 2016 at the age of just 18, but was displaced by Nitipong at the start of 2017, and has spent the vast majority of the last season and a half on the bench. Now 20, it makes sense for Meechok to move on to a club where he can get more regular football, but surprisingly he has chosen to move to Suphanburi, where he is not expected to be getting an awful lot of playing time, either. Still, we wish Meechok, a good young player with a bright future ahead of him, all the best.

 

 

Port have surprisingly not moved to replace Meechok, so either versatile defensive midfelder Adisorn or left winger Chakrit Rawanprakone are expected to fill in if first choice Nitipong is injured or suspended.

Speaking of versatile central midfielders, Athibordee Atirat has also secured a transfer away from PAT Stadium, although his move is not permanent. Athibordee joins Navy on a 6 month loan, where he is expected to play a key role in midfield. He’ll need to perform miracles to keep Navy up, mind you. This move surprised me a little, as Athibordee had been seeing pretty regular action in midfield and defence, but he is obviously seen as surplus to requirements in the second half of the season.

 

 

There have been some other loan moves too, although it’s mostly players who were already out on loan moving on to different clubs.

Left back Yossawat Montha, who made 9 starts for strugglers Ubon UMT, has moved to Prachuap, where he will compete for a starting berth for 2018’s surprise success story. Unfortunately for Yossawat, he will likely be behind 37 year old Prachuap captain Adul Meunsamaan in the pecking order, whilst former Port teammate Piyachart Tamaphan will also provide competition.

 

 

Bajram Nebihi has also moved on from Chiang Rai, with Chonburi securing his services on loan for the second half of 2018. The big German didn’t strike up much of a partnership with under-performing star player Cleiton Silva, so it is no surprise that ambitious Chiang Rai are looking to rebuild their forward line without Nebihi. It was also no surprise that the player who had such a strong impact for Ubon in 2017 had numerous suitors. Talk of a move to Navy was rife, before he eventually signed for The Sharks.

 

 

Now we starts to get in to the weeds a little. Two players who, as far as I was aware, had already made permanent their moves away from PAT Stadium may still be on the books. It’s of little consequence that Thanakorn Saipunya is still a Port player, as he wasn’t given a squad number and was confined to training with Port B in pre-season. His move to Khon Kaen is apparently only a loan, but he will surely leave on a permanent deal at some point, without getting a sniff of first team action.

 

 

The other player in limbo is midfielder Tatchanon Nakarawong, who everyone including Chonburi seemed to think was a Chonburi player, but is now apparently on loan at Army from Port. Tatchanon arrived at Port from Army a couple of seasons ago, and despite impressing in pre-season was grossly underused by Port before being shipped out on loan to another club where he was very unlikely to see significant game time. Indeed, the youngster played just 7 times for The Sharks. He has finally done the right thing in joining a team where he is likely to be first choice, although with Army recently announced that they will be folding, he will likely have to move on again before long.

 

 

 

Arrivals

Now, I know I said things had been quiet, but I do actually have a couple of confirmed arrivals for you. This could be good…

Port have signed two young players who had been part of King Power’s ‘Fox Hunt’ project. Anon Samakorn and Somprasong Promsorn are the two players in question, and they look pretty promising. Anon, nicknamed Boat, is a 19 year old midfielder who has been on the books at both Leicester City and OH Leuven’s youth setups. Somprasong, nicknamed Toto, is a 21 year old right winger who has also been with both Leicester and Leuven. He looks pretty nifty in this video, playing for Leuven’s under 19 team in a 4-1 victory over Bierbeek, and showing some impressive pace and trickery. The video of Anon’s performance from the same game looks less exciting, although he does notch an assist with a clever through-ball.

 

Anon (l) and Somprasong (r)

 

Both players have been given first team squad numbers, with Anon taking number 20 and Somprasong number 14, although it is thought that both will start out with Port B before joining the big boys.

 

Rumours

Now for the rumours. We’ve been hearing Ratchaburi’s Thai-German right wing back Philip Roller’s name over and over again in recent days. He has been linked with both Port and Muangthong though, in a situation eerily reminiscent of the saga that led to Kevin Deeromram signing for Port. Roller is a superb player, but would find very stiff competition for a place in Port’s team. I do think that he’s a better player than Nitipong, but there’s certainly no guarantee that he would nail down a starting place, whilst his ability to play further forward would be of little value to Port, who already possess a surfeit of right wingers. As much as it pains me to say it, I think a move to the Theatre of Corrugated Iron makes sense for Roller, with Tristan Do having moved on to the wing and midfielder Wattana Plainum currently playing out of position at full-back.

 

 

We also heard numerous rumours that Port’s third choice goalie Watchara Buathong was on the way out, but as far as we know the perennial back-up to the back-up is still kicking around at PAT Stadium. He must like the easy life.