Kosuke Kitani is suspended for Gifu, and he will be a big miss for the team. Masanori Abe should slot in next to Hiroshi Sekita in the centre of defence. Brazilian midfielder Henik however is still suspended. One change might be to give Ryoto Higa a start in midfield as he has bundles of energy, but I think Ramos would be loathe to drop Masashi Miyazawa so Taisuke Mizuno woud be the man most likely to give way, if indeed Ramos wants to make a change. Taira Inoue impressed on his return from injury last week, but one wonders whether two games in 5 days is too much for him at this point. It is possible Hirofumi Moriyasu or Higa replaces him.
For Fagiano Okayama, they are in the midst of their longest ever unbeaten run, currently at 15 games, and so you’d expect them to have a settled team. But that isn’t the case, especially in relation to their forwards where apart from Tomoyuki Arata, all of their seven other strikers have started at least 7 games this year. Maybe that’s why they are doing so well, it is quite hard to prepare for them if you don’t whether they’ll go with the aerial ability of Yuichi Kubo, the off the top play of Yuki Oshitani & Shintaro Shimizu or the side threat of Makoto Mimura.
My predicted starting XI: Kawaguchi, Masuyama, Abe, Sekita, Shuto Tanaka, Miyazawa, Mizuno, Higa, Takachi, Endo, Nazarit
Form guide last 5 league games (most recent first):
- FC Gifu: WLWLD
- Fagiano Okayama: WWDDD
- FC Gifu: Nazarit 8, Hiroaki Namba 7
- Fagiano Okayama: Eiichi Katayama 5, Yuki Oshitani 4
Previous games in Gifu:
- 2009 FC Gifu 4-0 Fagiano Okayama
- 2010 FC Gifu 1-0 Fagiano Okayama
- 2011 FC Gifu 1-3 Fagiano Okayama
- 2012 FC Gifu 1-2 Fagiano Okayama
- 2013 FC Gifu 0-0 Fagiano Okayama
Overall J.League history between the two sides:
- FC Gifu wins: 6
- Fagiano Okayama wins: 3
- Draws: 3
Fagiano boast two recent acquisitions from FC Gifu. Forward Yuki Oshitani spent time here on loan from Jubilo Iwata, firmly establishing himself as a popular player. And Kazuki Someya left Gifu in the summer to sign on at Kanko Stadium. Someya had a superb year for Gifu last year, scoring 10 goals and creating many more as he proved to be the main player responsible for keeping Gifu in J2. This year it hasn’t quite worked out for him in Okayama as he has only started 5 times for them. How I would love to see him back in Gifu colours – he would thrive in this current system.
- J.League Division 2, matchday 24: FC Gifu v Fagiano Okayama.
- Venue: Nagaragawa Memorial Stadium, KO 7pm.
- Broadcast: Live on Skapa premium service.
- Weather: Hot and humid. Cloudy with a 30% chance of rain. High of 32°C.