Portimonense: Back to work
The Portimonense squad featuring any number of new faces returned to training after undergoing a full set of medical check-ups last Monday.
Most recent signings being put through their paces were Willyan Rocha, a tall Brazilian 24-year-old central defender wanted by several other clubs, who has joined from second division Cova da Piedade on a four-year contract; American 22-year-old right winger Stephen Payne previously with Varzim; Brazilian forward Iury Castilho, only 23 years old, but already with plenty of experience from stints in the Ukraine, Dubai and Saudi Arabia; and lastly 21-year-old defender Rodrigo, another Brazilian on loan from São Paulo.
This quartet joined previous arrivals Felipe Vieira, Casagrande, Romulo, Luquinha, Cassio, Paulo Estrela, Jorge Vilela and Beto as well as the established Portimonense players still at the club. Further additions could still be on their way before the end of the month, including Porto’s Bruno Costa, German-Turkish Dortmund B midfielder Hüseyin Bulut and young Japanese forward Nakamura from Gamba Osaka.
Good news concerns Lucas Fernandes with São Paulo agreeing to extend his loan arrangement for another year, but the futures of Jackson Martinez, want-away Paulinho and back-from-loan Pires are still uncertain.
Whatever the developments, manager António Folha is sure to have his hands full over the coming weeks shaping a potent force ready to face the next domestic campaign. The first opportunity to see the new-look side in action will come as soon as Tuesday when Wrexham are the visitors at the Municipal Stadium, kick-off 7pm. That match will be followed by another ‘test’ against Braga on Saturday, July 13 before Portimonense travel to Vila Real de Santo António on the 16th for a game with Marítimo.
By SKIP BANDELE