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Preview: K League Classic Round 24

After a short reprieve the K League Classic is back with a double game week when, firstly, all twelve sides take to the field for round 24 of the 2017 season this Wednesday. The midweek action is packed with closely contested teams facing off against one another.  Second placed Suwon Bluewings, captained by Yeom Kihoon (pictured above), take on Ulsan Hyundai; two teams level on points and gunning for a shot at the league leaders. Will either side be able to stake a real claim to be Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' nearest challenger? Elsewhere, FC Seoul and Gangwon FC, who are both locked on 34 points, go head-to-head at Sangam; can current Champions FC Seoul get their pursuit of ACL qualification back on track, or can Gangwon put the pressure on fourth placed Jeju United? All this and much more in your comprehensive guide to round 24.

Image via KLeague.com

Jeonnam Dragons (8th) Vs Sangju Sangmu (9th) 19:00

Eighth take on ninth at Dragon Dungeon this Wednesday in a game which could see Jeonnam move above Pohang and into seventh with a victory. The Dragons would of course need to rely on Gwangju beating Pohang at the Steel Yard but given recent form, it is perhaps not totally out of the question. Jeonnam welcome Sangju on the back of two straight defeats but both of those reverses were on the road. At home, Noh Sangrae's side have just one defeat in their last five and just two in ten. Sangju, meanwhile, could leapfrog Jeonnam should they take all three points away from South Jeolla Province. The military side are struggling for form, though with just one win in their last six.

Prediction: Jeonnam Dragons 2-0 Sangju Sangmu

FC Seoul (6th) Vs Gangwon FC (5th) 19:30

The defeat to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors perhaps but a dampener on FC Seoul's recent upturn in fortunes. But, the current Champions come back from the break sitting in sixth place and just three points behind a possible Asian Champions League place. Wednesday night sees fellow ACL chasing Gangwon FC head to Sangam, a side that had seen their form dip somewhat heading into the break. Gangwon have just one win in their last five but on the road they have lost just three times in 2017.

Columnist Ryan Walters previews the game here.

Ulsan Hyundai (3rd) Vs Suwon Bluewings (2nd) 19:30

With the race for ACL qualification hotting up so is the hunt for top spot. Two of Jeonbuk's nearest title rivals in Ulsan Hyundai and Suwon Bluewings go head to head at the Munsu this Wednesnday, and both will be looking to cement themselves as the outright favourites to topple the current league leaders. Only goals scored and goal difference separates these two sides with the K League giants both sitting on 42 points for the season thus far. And, with Jeonbuk having a somewhat more favourable match up elsewhere on Wednesday with their trip to strugglers Incheon, both sides will be looking to ensure the gap does not widen from five points.

Prediction: Ulsan Hyundai 1-0 Suwon Bluewings

Incheon United (11th) Vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) 19:30

Following on from their win over FC Seoul last time out, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will see the trip to Incheon as an ideal opportunity to reaffirm their stronghold on first place. Currently, Choi Kanghee's side sit five points clear and could make it four wins on the spin should the Green Warriors see off the Durumi. Incheon United had managed to get themselves off the bottom and out of the outright relegation place but after five games without a win, the Lee Kihyung's side find themselves in the relegation playoff place and level on points with bottom placed Gwangju FC. Can United make use of their devoted home support when the current Asian Champions League Champions head to Sungui Arena?

Columnist Matthew Binns previews the game here.

Pohang Steelers  (7th) Vs Gwangju FC (12th) 19:30

Both Pohang Steelers and Gwangju FC appear to be struggling for form and confidence at present. Pohang were once right in the thick of the title race but following a run of five games without victory, and four straight defeats, are languishing in midtable. Gwangju FC will be looking to star forward and recent signing Niall McGinn to fire them off the bottom of the table. The South Jeolla outfit picked up a vital win last time out, seeing off the challenge of Jeonnam Dragons on their own patch. A win for Gwangju could well see them move off the bottom and with Incheon United facing the league leaders Jeonbuk, Nam Ki-il's men will see the trip to the Steel Yard as an ideal opportunity to do so.

Prediction: Pohang Steelers 1-0 Gwangju FC

Jeju United (4th) Vs Daegu FC (10th) 20:00

Back-to-back wins before the mini break got Jeju United's season back on track. Up next for the islanders is the visit of Daegu FC. Jeju now occupy fourth place and look to be on course for a tilt at Asian Champions League qualification once again. Wednesday's visitors to Seogwipo, Daegu FC, have back-to-back wins of their own to speak of having beaten both Pohang Steelers and Gangwon FC in rounds 22 and 23 respectively. The North Gyeongsang Province side, lead by Brazilian coach Andre, have a three point cushion between themselves and the relegation places. A win over Jeju could see Daegu leapfrog Sangju Sangmu and into 9th place.

Prediction: Jeju United 2-0 Daegu FC

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