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I Smell A Trat: Port FC vs. Trat FC Preview

 

What was shaping up to be the most straightforward of home fixtures for Port this Wednesday has, after the weekend’s results, taken on a rather different complexion. Whereas Port’s lack of discipline led to a surprising 1-3 surrender against a Sukhothai side they were expected to beat, winless Trat absolutely hammered undefeated Suphanburi 4-0 in one of the shock results of the season so far. With two coaches having already claimed gold and silver in this season’s sack race, Jadet will be uncomfortably aware that if at least one positive result is not delivered in the first week of April, then he could well find himself the final man on the podium.

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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.

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk: Tada Tana?

 

 

Port have continued to trim fat from their squad, with two more departures confirmed and one more strongly rumoured. There have also been some interesting developments with the academy, and talk of further arrivals to the full squad, although we have no idea which area of the squad is being earmarked for improvement.

The two confirmed exits were both players who were out on loan for the second half of last season. Tatchanon Nakarawong has made his move to Chonburi permanent, whilst Pinyo Inpinit has been snapped up by Police Tero after his loan spell at Prachuap last season.

 

 

Tatchanon endured a testing 6 months with Port, being consistently overlooked in defensive midfield despite being Port’s best player in that position during pre-season. Ludicrously, he played just 165 minutes for Port in the first half of the season, before securing a deadline-day loan move to Chonburi for whom he played just 211 minutes. At 21, Tatchanon still has a lot of time to break in to The Sharks’ first team, but I can’t help thinking that he may have been better served joining a weaker team where he would have more chance of starting games. Nevertheless, we wish him the best in his quest for first team football in 2018.

 

 

Pinyo’s time at Port also has to go down as very unfortunate. He arrived at Port from Police alongside Pakorn, and both were expected to be key figures in Port’s 2016 promotion campaign. Whereas Pakorn made an immediate impact, Pinyo suffered a serious injury and incredibly failed to make a single appearance in the league for the next 2 seasons. Despite returning to fitness a few times, injury always struck before Pinyo could fight his way back in to the team, although in the second half of 2017 he did manage a handful of games for Prachuap. The Killer Wasps didn’t make the deal permanent, but Police Tero swooped in and will take a gamble on the former Thai international, ending his unhappy spell at PAT Stadium.

 


 

It has also been announced that Port will be fielding a ‘B’ team in T4 next season, which will give Port’s academy players a chance to test themselves against seasoned pros. Along with this announcement, Port also unveiled a promising youngster who will be joining the youth setup next season. Chaowala Sriarwut, nicknamed Arm, impressed for Ratchawinit Bang Khen School in 2017, played for Bangkok Glass under 19s in the Coke Cup and has agreed to join Port’s youth setup for the 2018 season.

 

 

The last piece of news is a bit of a Sandpit Exclusive, as Port defender Elias Dolah let it slip in his interview with us that the man who “doesn’t take things seriously at all” has “left Port for sure.” After enjoying an extended holiday – which apparently his teammates weren’t aware of – Tana returned to training with about as much urgency as he shows while tracking back on the pitch, and is not expected to remain with Port in 2018. We have reported a few times about rumours linking him to hometown club Khonkaen FC, who have been spreading some money around in an attempt to secure a second successive promotion, but there is no further news on that front. The moment when Tana is unveiled by another club and I get to finally press that ‘Bin’ button on his player profile can’t come soon enough!

 

 

The speculation about yet more new arrivals is based on comments from Madame Pang which suggest that she will consider bringing in reinforcements if the right player becomes available. Bringing in another forward would certainly seem to be a wise move, whilst defensive cover may also be an option worth considering.

 

Asdrubal and Jadue Bid Port Adieu

 

Asdrubal Padron and Matias Jadue have reportedly both ended their time with Port, having played precisely zero minutes of competitive football. These reports are not yet officially confirmed, but it seems likely that they will be soon.

 

 

Asdrubal Padron arrived to much fanfare, looking to be Port’s marquee signing for the 2017 season, but a knee injury he sustained in training ended his season before it began. Although the 26 year old forward recovered much sooner than expected, he was not selected for the second leg of the season, despite his performances in mid-season friendlies suggesting he could have had more to contribute than some of his peers. Even if he needed some more time to reach match fitness, his inclusion in the squad seemed like a no-brainer to most who watched him in action. Asdrubal is rumoured to be heading to Australia, although no deal has been confirmed as of yet.

 

 

Matias Jadue has apparently also left Port. Why he even joined in the first place I have absolutely no idea. When he was signed, he was the eighth foreign player on Port’s books, and looked very much from his profile and his one friendly appearance like the runt of the litter. Unsurprisingly, the 25 year old Chilean Palestinian was not even considered for a place in the T1 squad, leaving him only the cup games to participate in. While warming up for his debut appearance against Royal Thai Fleet on a waterlogged pitch, however, Jadue crocked himself. Despite recently returning to training, Jadue has now agreed to move on, ending his bizarre, unhappy stint with Port.

 

 

In other rumours, there are whispers that Tachanon (39) is unhappy following his loan move to Chonburi. It looked to be a very strange decision to send a young player desperate for first team action to a top-half T1 team, and so it has proved. Tatchanon has not broken in to the team, and once again finds himself struggling to even get a place on the bench. Tatchanon is very well thought of by his fellow Port players, a few of whom have sung his praises and expressed surprise that he didn’t break in to the first XI in the first half of the season. He has been criminally overlooked, though, first by Jadet and then by Zico. Tatchanon started just one game under Jadet – when his disciplined midfield play lead to Port keeping a clean sheet against Navy – and Zico hasn’t involved him with the first team at all in the second half of the season. He was shipped off on transfer deadline day, although the club even managed to make a mess of that. A loan move to T2 would surely have made much more sense than sending him to Chonburi, where his development will continue to stall through lack of competitive action.

In team news for the upcoming run of 4 games in 11 days, it seems likely that Josimar (30) and Kaludjerovic (10) will be Zico’s first choice striking options in a traditional 4-4-2, meaning that Suarez (5) will drop to the bench. This is based on pictures from Port’s training camp in Khao Yai, where an ‘A’ side featuring the two foreign strikers faced off against a ‘B’ side in which Suarez was the lone foreigner. Wuttichai (14) and Tana (99) were the front pair for the ‘B team. *shudders* Please don’t get too experimental this Wednesday against Ayutthaya (previewed here), Zico!

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk – 17 Jan 2017

 

It’s Transfer Talk round-up time! The start of the season is nearly upon us, meaning all of the transfer tomfoolery is nearly at an end. As always, there have been lots of coming and goings, so we’re going to do our best to summarize them for you here.

Out

 

Thiago Cunha (10)
Last year’s big-name signing was expected to make a splash in D1, but ended up being a huge flop. His antics got less and less bearable as the season went on, although he did scoop The Sandpit’s Goal of the Season award!

Rodrigo Maranhao (29)
Maranhao looked like a worldbeater at the start of 2016, but his performances tailed off in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, most Port fans would have preferred to keep hold of the likeable Brazilian. Only time will tell whether letting him go was the right decision or not.

Renan Oliveira (25)
Oliveira was the forgotten man at Port last year. He played a couple of games, didn’t look great, then got dropped from the squad altogether. It’s no surprise he has not been retained for 2017.

Wagner Carioca (35)
Wagner followed the opposite trajectory to Maranhao, really coming in to his own in the second half of last season. Another player who many fans would have been happy to keep hold of, although his replacement in centre midfield does look bloody good.

Artit Daosawang (19)
On loan from Muang Thong last season, Artit played a few games in centre midfield. He will return to Muang thong as planned in 2017.

Sathaporn Daengsi (15)
Sathaporn arrived on loan from Buriram for the second half of 2016, becoming first choice left back and performing consistently if unspectacularly. He will return to Buriram in 2017.

Narong Wisetsri (39)
Narong was third choice goalkeeper last season, never managing to challenge his two younger competitors for a place in the first XI.

Naronrit Samonpan (4)
Naronrit was a bit-part player for the last few seasons, supplying cover in defence and occasionally midfield in the case of injuries and suspensions. He is considered surplus to requirements after the arrival of Dolah.

Artit Promkun (24)
We don’t recall the other Artit getting any game-time at all last season, so far was he down the left back pecking order. It’s no surprise that he has moved on.

Watchara Buathong (1)
Watchara returns to BBCU on loan for a second consecutive season. He’s a good ‘keeper with lots of potential, but can’t find his was past Worawut or Rattanai.

 

The New Signings

In

 

Sergio Suarez (4)
Suarez has impressed in pre-season since joining from Songkhla. His touch and passing have looked top-notch, and he seems to have slotted effortlessly in to the team. We expect big things from him in 2017.

Asdrubal Padron (24)
Asdrubal brings a big reputation with him to Port, having played in La Liga for Las Palmas. It’s too early to tell how well he will adapt to his new surroundings and a different style of football, but we have high hopes nevertheless!

Andrija Kaluderovic (10)
Kaluderovic scores goals for fun, and he does it all over the world. If he can reproduce anything like the 20 in 19 strike-rate he managed in Lithuania last season, he will be a star. It will be interesting to see whether Asdrubal or Kaluderovic are preferred up front, or whether they are played as a pair with either Suarez or Rochela dropping to the bench. Only time will tell.

Elias Dolah (40)
Dolah has lived up to the hype in his brief pre-season appearances. The Thai-Swede who signed from Songkhla has been winning almost everything in the air, and tackling powerfully. He could end up being the signing of the season for Port in 2017.

Patrick Bentley (30)
We know very little about 20 year old Bentley. We know that he’s Thai-Australian, and we don’t think he’s played professionally before. To be filed under ‘one for the future’.

Siwapong Jarernsin (35)
Journeyman Siwapong joins from Sisaket to add strength in depth to the midfield. He can take a lovely free-kick, as he did against Navy in pre-season.

Wanchalerm Yingyong (26)
Wanchalerm has joined on loan from Chiang Rai, giving Jadet another midfielder to choose from.

Tatchanon Nakarawong (27)
Tatchanon at just 20 seems to be a good signing in the long term. Whilst he joins the ever-lengthening queue for midfield game-time, he has time on his side, and has been playing regularly in pre-season.

Panpanpong Pinkong (19)
Panpanpong joins from Bangkok Utd, where he provided cover at full back. He seems to be being considered for a starting role this season at Port, but we’re backing Piyachart to be preferred come the start of the season.

Weera (1)
Weera was first signed by Port in 2015. He has since left and now come back. We think. We’ve definitely seen him training and playing in friendlies, although nothing has been announced by the club.

Unfinished Business

 

Whilst it has been strongly rumoured that Genki (18) was not going to be kept in 2017, his departure has not been announced, and no replacement has been signed. Genki continues to train with the club, and was given a start in the most recent friendly against Sukhothai. We still think it’s likely that another AFC foreign player will be brought in to replace him on the left wing, but time is running out with the season fast-approaching.