A very big game in the context of FC Gifu’s season occurs on Saturday night at the Nagaragawa as fellow relegation candidates Giravanz Kitakyushu come to town.

The less said about Gifu’s result in Hokkaido, the better. Mistakes were made, players didn’t gel, one of those days etc. Hopefully that can be put behind us as we entertain the suddenly red-hot Giravanz. Big plus points for Gifu are the impending return of Kohei Nakashima, who was on the bench in Sapporo, and the return of Desmond. Desmond came back to the club last week after spending time in Italy due to “personal reasons”. I’m not sure, and I don’t think anybody is, about what those reasons were but it will be good to have him back. He played in a training match last Sunday against Zweigen Kanazawa so one would think that he will be thrust straight into the line-up on Saturday.

As I mentioned, Giravanz have suddenly hit a run of form. They demolished Roasso Kumamoto 7-0 two weeks ago and followed that up with a win in Tottori last week. After enduring a horrendous run and suffering injuries to key players, Hashiratani’s team has started to gel. Remember, this is a team who brought in 25 new players in the winter while losing/releasing 21. It was always going to take time for them to get it together, and they are finally showing some cohesion. They have only lost one of their last seven, and that was a narrow defeat to Gamba Osaka. This team is not the walkovers they were earlier on in the season and this will be a crucial test for this Gifu team looking to climb off the bottom.

One last point. It is imperative that Gifu focus on this game and not allow their minds to wander ahead to next week when Endo, Konno and Usami come to town. The Giravanz game, in comparison to the Gamba game, is of far greater significance to FC Gifu’s immediate future.