Date:Tuesday August 14 2007
I thought I would take the time and work on a pre-pre-match preview before Thursday`s game because, well we all know what our lads are capable of and whilst we are quick to dismiss the challenge of MyPa I thought we should at least learn a little more about them.
So, who are MyPa, or as they are formally known, Myllykosken Pallo -47? Well, they are a Finnish side whom will sound familiar to all the Championship Manager regulars amongst us, as during this part of the season their name can be seen banded around in Euro qualifiers, much in the same manner we hear about them this year.
Alas, this still doesn`t tell us much about them. They are based in Anjalankoski, which is one of many developing towns in Finland. The town is recognised for its industrial factories and is home to some 17,301 Fins (according to statistics taken in 2006 and published on Wikipedia). It is famous for its river and the club in question; MyPa.
As a team they have a history of producing some of the greatest Finish players of all time with Sami Hyypia and Jari Litmanen amongst former employees.
Well back to the contemporary and what should we know and indeed expect from a mid table Finnish side. That should in itself be a clue to their recent form as three consecutive defeats without scoring and leaking nine goals indicates a side out of form and in disarray.
This poor state of affairs Rovers find them in was compounded when their manager Ilkka Makela resigned last week, citing the consecutive defeats as the reason. They are currently being run by the assistant manager.
Aside from the poor league form that sees them languishing in seventh position some eight points from the leaders and eleven points above fourteenth and bottom, they managed to set up this tie with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Faroe Island side EB/Streymur.
MyPa won the opening leg at their Savinemi Anjalankoski stadium and managed a 1-1 draw away. However, things could have been very different had their goalkeeper Janne Korhonen not saved a penalty on the hour mark. Tuomas Kuparinen was there goalscorer on the night and the midfield man will be a threat. He has a drive and rapid charge from midfield and a knack of sneaking into promising positions.
Another player to look out for is joint top goalscorer Mikko Hyyrynen. He too has three goals in all competitions this season. However, in goals is where they truly lack edge. The need for a leading scorer is apparent as no fewer than 10 players have contributed with goals this season, although the leading scorers only have three each. Four players have managed to score twice.
They are inconsistent which suggests why they are in mid-table. Home form is erratic, but they do seem to have an ability to keep things tight at the back, that is if you ignore the 5-1, 4-1 and 3-0 drubbings. If they need to be resolute, they generally can.
I feel they will deploy a moderately attacking side for the first leg in the hope of taking the lead and shutting up shop. However, with such little firepower at their disposal I don`t think messes Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba will have too much to worry about.
We predict an easy progression and that is a fair assessment when you look at the current set up of MyPa. As long as we are wary of their limited attacking options and patient in our build-up play then we should be able to break them down.
Date:Tuesday August 14 2007
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