Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Kawasaki Preview

We're back. It's been a pretty quiet couple of months on the Ardija front, but we ought to start with a brief review of events down Omiya way since the crunching 4-0 home loss to Vegalta Sendai that concluded the first half of the 2010 season. Squirrels midfielder An Yong Hak performed more than respectably at the World Cup for North Korea and the rest of his colleagues in the Omiya squad took part in the regular mid-season training camp at Tsumagoi in Gunma prefecture. Friendly games were staged against J2 minnows Thespa Kusatsu (a 2-1 defeat... ouch) and Hokushinetsu League side AC Nagano Parceiro (a 2-0 win).

As regards the playing squad, a couple of trialists took part in those friendlies, ex-Vissel Kobe, FC Tokyo and Angers left-sided player Norio Suzuki ending up signing a six-month contract. There's no news as to whether or not former South Korean international winger Lee Chun Soo will follow suit, although reserve midfield player Seo Yong Duk has departed Omiya to FC Tokyo on loan until the end of the year. Chikara Fujimoto looks to have recovered from his injury and so coach Jun Suzuki would appear to have a full-strength squad to choose from for Wednesday's Kawasaki Frontale game.

There's no doubt a degree of disappointment among Squirrels fans as regards the level of transfer activity, bearing in mind that Ardija are still in the relegation zone and have a difficult run of five games between now and the end of the month. By all accounts Lee is not the easiest player to work with, but it would be a definite step in the right direction to see the squad being improved in that area. One option may be that new arrival Suzuki and Kazuhiro Murakami take the two spots on the left, with club captain Fujimoto shifting over to the right-hand side in place of Hayato Hashimoto.

Whether this will make much difference tomorrow against a Frontale side aiming to get back into the top two or three is open to question. The Kanagawa Blues have Kengo Nakamura and Junichi Inamoto returning from what was in both cases a modest amount of World Cup action, while departing goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and forward Jong Tae Se will presumably be absent as they prepare for their moves to Lierse SK and VfL Bochum respectively. For Ardija, Jun Suzuki has had getting on for two months to work out how to get the most from his squad. Now he needs to get points on the board.



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