Two weeks after encountering a team who were set on revenge, Gifu make the long trek west to face a Nagasaki team possibly still smarting from their dramatic loss in the reverse fixture.
Gifu will welcome back spiritual leader Kazuki Someya from suspension. Someya was sorely missed in the defeat against Matsumoto and his presence, as Nagasaki well know, will give Gifu an extra dimension. Apart from the long term injuries, Gifu have a clean bill of health. One decision will be whether to start Yuki Nakamura, who looked a bit laboured against Matsumoto, or Blazhe Ilijovski up front with Stipe. If Shogo Tokihisa is fit, I expect him to reclaim his number 1 spot.
Nagasaki are in a bit of a rut. They’ve lost three of their last four and are in danger of slipping out of the play-of picture. They have been hampered by the injury to Kohei Yamada, their flying winger who has been terrorizing J2 defences all year. Obviously the most well known commodity that Nagasaki have is Koichi Sato, the ex-FC Gifu forward who has scored 10 goals this year. They do have threats from other positions too: Mizunaga has proved his worth this year, Shuto Konno has had his moments, and Sai Kanakubo has blossomed into one of the best midfielders in the division.
Make no mistake, this will be a stern test for Gifu. Anything from this game will be a good result.