Veikkausliiga 2009 preview: TPS Turku

TPS Turku club badgeIn: Mikko Manninen, Babatunde Wusu, Alban Ferati, Jani Tuomala, Jaakko Nyberg, Samu-Petteri Mäkelä (on loan from PoPa until 18 July), Wayne Brown (on loan from Fulham until 31 July)

Out: Jani Sarajärvi, Janne Vellamo, Aristides Pertot, Henrik Moisander, Antti Hakala, Lucas Hradecky, Kheireddine Zarabi, Christian Gyan, Armand Oné, Urmas Rooba

Coach: Pasi Rautiainen

Claimed playing budget: €900,000

Egan says: Pasi Rautiainen’s return to Finland has not worked any miracles yet. The former Flora Tallinn coach has to contend with a squad of players he did not sign, and will be forced to adjust his tactics and strategy accordingly. If he manages to nurture Riku Riski’s talent in central midfield then TPS will play an expansive, passing game, if he sticks with the tried and tested options then their play will be a little more predictable. Rautiainen is at TPS for the long haul, and a European place would be a success for the club this season. Unfortunately for him, it may have to be attained via the cup.

Juha says: A good team: two good if not excellent goalkeepers and a midfield that has great depth to it: skillful young talent in Mikko Manninen (one of the best signings of the winter), Riku Riski and Kasper Hämäläinen, as well as more experienced, physical players in Chris Cleaver and Simo Valakari. But the depth in the squad is limited to the midfield: the three “clean” strikers in the squad are Babatunde Wusu and Mikko Paatelainen, who both have severe technical limitations, and Samu-Petteri Mäkelä, who will not produce miracles in Veikkausliiga yet. The defence is equally weak in numerical terms. Iiro Aalto, Jarkko Nyberg, Jarno Heinikangas and Sami Rähmönen make a good backline, but who does TPS have to replace them if injuries and suspensions occur? Nobody. TPS have the material to mount a top 3 challenge, but it will be a tough battle. A reinforcement in defence or attack might help in achieving that goal.

Fan’s View: The Kupittaa mafia is represented by mr. Jari Nikkola, a journalist who has lived in Turku all his life and closely followed the town’s vivid sport life in numerous different sports, among them hockey and basketball – and quite naturally, football.

1. Realistically, how will your team do?

TPS looks much better now than it ever did during the last season so let’s say it’s a podium finish for the Black&White!

2. Which teams did you like and dislike most last season?

With Inter it’s a love/hate situation as always. Of the other teams Honka looks pretty solid now

3. What was the best moment of last season?

I hate to say this but Inter winning the last game on home pitch.

4. What was the worst moment of last season?

TPS slumping from April on. No doubt about this. Worst football I’ve witnessed in ages…

5. If your club wasn’t in the football business what other business would it be in?

Tugboats! Well, maybe not…

6. Who will win Veikkausliiga and who will go down? (Just the names will do)

Honka or TPS will win, RoPS are going down.

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