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Writers' Chat: Daejeon Citizen Vs Bucheon 1995

Daejeon Citizen begin the new season with former Purples midfielder Ko Jongsoo making his managerial bow, much like how his opposite number Jung Gabsuk did one year ago for Saturday's visitors Bucheon 1995. With neither team achieving want they wanted to in 2017, both Daejeon and Bucheon will be looking to get off to a good start in Saturday's curtain raiser. Columnists Paul Neat and Alastair Middleton discuss Saturday's clash with a writers' chat.

Daejeon Citizen 2018 Season Preview: here

Alastair Middleton Asks, Paul Neat Answers

Alastair Middleton: For us K League watchers of a certain age, Ko Jongsoo is an absolute legend who retired way too soon and it's great to see him back with his hero Kim Ho as Daejeon manager, but is he the man to finally get a respectable season out of Daejeon?

Paul Neat: That's the question on everyone's lips, certainly in Daejeon. He is a K League legend and he ended his playing days at Purple Arena so it is quite fitting that he is beginning his managerial career with the club where he hung up his boots. Since the late Cho Jinho left in 2015, Daejeon have been hopeless at appointing new managers, namely in Choi Moonsik and Lee Youngik who both looked somewhat out of their depth. But, as you say, Kim Ho is the CEO, someone who knows Ko Jongsoo very well and I'm sure he will be taking Ko under his wing and giving him advice as and when required. The fact that Kim Ho chose Ko Jongsoo specifically just shows the faith that he has in him. As a player he won it all, the Daejeon players will have a lot of respect for him. Plus, given how he played in his prime, the Purple Arena faithful will be hoping this is reflected in his managerial style and can look forward to some attractive football this season.

AM: You mentioned in your season preview that Daejeon need a "leader" and for all his talent, that's something Ko never was in his playing days. Thoughts on him handing newcomer Oh Jangeun the armband?

PN: Yes, on the pitch last season Daejeon had a distinct lack of leadership, it could be argued that this was the case off it too. But, Oh Jangeun is an experienced player who has played for big clubs like Ulsan Hyundai and Suwon Bluewings and so, in that respect, the appointment makes sense. He is 32 years of age but playing in a defensive midfield role I think that he could be an important player who could shore up the defence behind him and lead by example. Former Gangwon skipper Baek Jonghwan has also signed, I am sure he will add some much-needed leadership to the team as well as I think it's important to have plenty of leaders in and around the squad.

AM: I heard pre-season was in Turkey. How did it go?

PN: That's right, last year they went to Murcia in Spain but this time round they were in Antalya in Turkey for a few weeks for some warm weather training. The players appeared to be enjoying being abroad and it will have been good for team bonding, especially considering how many new players Daejeon have brought in over the winter. Daejeon aren't exactly what one would call 'forthcoming' in terms of their social media activity and what news they release so information on results for many of friendlies they played in Turkey haven't seen the light of day. The did Purples draw 2-2 with Macedonian outfit Akademija Pandev though, reportedly coming back from 2-0 down. Back in Korea, other than the usual games with universities, Daejeon had a couple of friendly games with Gyeongnam, losing 2-1 in one and drawing 0-0 in the other. Last season, whilst in Murcia, Citizen played a good amount of friendlies against some reputable teams from Europe and so I felt that the team were well prepared for the season ahead. Well, all know how that one turned out.

AM: Lots of newcomers and a brand new manager. If you were in charge, how would you set the team up on opening day?

PN: I would go with a 4-1-3-2 formation with captain Oh Jangeun in front of the back four. New goalkeeper Kim Jinyoung looks set to be Ko Jongsoo's number 1 and I'd also expect to see Yoo Junseong at centre back but, frankly, given how many defenders Daejeon have signed, who else makes up the back four would be difficult to predict. I'd quite like to see former Bucheon defender and Korea U23 international Ko Myeongseok feature, though. The three behind the striker would be Filip Hlohovsky, Jung Minwoo and Kim Chanhee with Park Daehoon as the loan striker. Pedro Henrique is also an option up top but, given that he is new to Korea, it all depends on whether he can adapt. Only time will tell. I'd imagine that he'll be involved on Saturday in some shape of form, though.

AM: Score Prediction?

PN: New season optimism, new manager and a clean slate for Daejeon. I would be cautious about predicting a win but I don't think a draw is out of the question.

Daejeon Citizen 1-1 Bucheon 1995


Bucheon 1995 2018 Season Preview: here

Paul Neat Asks, Alastair Middleton Answers

Paul Neat: Bucheon missed out on the playoffs last year, they have lost a few important players like Kim Shin, Waguininho and the goalkeeper Ryu Wonwoo and so have had to rebuild a bit again. But with Willian Popp signing as well as Lee Hyunseung so do you think they have enough to mount another tilt at the top four?

Alastair Middleton: It’s a fact of life at this level that every year is going to involved rebuilding to some extent with any player who has had a good season vulnerable to being picked off by those with deeper wallets, but manager Jang Gapsuk proved adept at putting together a competitive side last year with limited funds and I’m confident he’s done it again this time. Aside from the known names such as Lee and Popp, Jang has fleshed out the squad with cheap acquisitions from the National League and fringes of K1 teams. Whether it will be good enough for top-four is another matter as there are some good sides in the league. Suwon look like they mean business this year while it surely won’t take Seongnam four-months (or however long it did) to figure out how to score a goal this time. Asan and Busan will surely be there or thereabouts again too. Fifth would probably be a par finish again but with a little luck they may sneak in. It makes getting off to a good start against a team who they may be expected to finish ahead of, very important.

PN: Willian Popp is well known in the second tier having had a spell with Busan, you have pinned Jin Changsoo as a key player, who else should Daejeon be wary of come Saturday?

AM: There aren’t too many unknowns at Bucheon. Obviously a lot will rest on Popp to provide the goals that Waguninho supplied last year and Lukian the year before, but in midfield Club Captain Moon Kihan had another very solid season last year and he and Jin Changsoo are going to be crucial for Bucheon throughout this campaign. Gong Minhyun is clearly rated by the manager as well. He returned from Asan, where he wasn’t exactly prolific, towards the end of last season and went straight back into the team, scoring at E-Land on the final day and he’s scored plenty in pre-season.

PN: How has pre-season gone for Bucheon? Do you think they are suitably prepared for the season?

AM: It’s been up and down so we’ll not read too much to read into it. They put a few University teams to the sword but also got thrashed 4-0 by National League side Gyeongju KHNP before exchanging 2-1 victories in two matches with Pohang, winning once on Jeju Island and then losing last week at the Steelyard in what was their final warm-up. Popp has been scoring, which is a good sign, but the goals have been nicely spread around which is encouraging too. Off the pitch, the club has been embroiled in a messy dispute with Chinese side Yanbian FC over the ownership of China Under-23 international Nan Song and I’m not sure that’s been resolved yet.

PN: How do you expect Bucheon to set up tactics and formation wise on Saturday?

AM: Good question. I’m guessing Willian Popp and Gong Minhyun will start up front with Lee Hyunseung in behind taking up the Kim Shin role. There is a chance though that given the attack is weaker than last year, safety-first might be the priority to begin with. While I have said Bucheon have had to do a lot of rebuilding, there are still plenty of familiar faces, especially at the back with the likes of Nilson Junior, Kim Hanbin and Lim Donghyeok still around. You’d have to fancy Ko Jongsoo to be going all out for a win in his first match so sit back, soak it up and perhaps nick one on the break might be the order of day for Bucheon.

PN: Score Prediction?

AM: Can’t predict a first day defeat even away from home especially as I believe dinosaurs were still roaming the plains of Yuseong-gu the last time Daejeon last began their season with a victory.

Daejeon Citizen 0-1 Bucheon 1995

K League 2 Fixtures: here

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