Montedio Yamagata v FC Gifu

Gifu make the long trek to the ND Soft stadium to take a Montedio side who need to win to keep their slim play-off hopes alive.

Gifu will have to do without central defender Tatsuya Arai who picked up his fourth booking of the season in the last game against Tochigi SC. The word on the street (and it is only rumour) that Hiroshi Sekita will partner Kitani in the centre of defence. Elsewhere, it looks like Stipe has fully recovered from his minor injury and will spearhead the Gifu forward effort.

Montedio will also have a suspension to deal with in defence, as Lee Joo Young serves a one game ban. Monte will also probably be without forwards Ryohei Hayashi & Goshi Okubo. It speaks to their depth that despite these injuries they can still field a dangerous forward line of Yuki Nakashima & Masato Yamazaki.

When the teams met at a sunny Nagaragawa earlier in the season, Masaru Akiba gave the visitors the lead only for Hiroyuki Sugimoto to score his first (and as it has turned out, only) goal of the season. And a beauty it was too, sweetly lobbing the Montedio keeper.

Gifu’s last visit to Yamagata, in 2012, ended in a 2-1 defeat. Given the circumstances both teams are in if Gifu come away with a point it will be a very good result indeed.

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