Portimonense: striking problems

Ahead of the return to training next Monday, Portimonense are still on the look-out for forwards as the club looks to address the goal drought which became increasingly apparent during the latter part of last season.

Only recognised striker Jackson Martinez, apart from suffering from a recurring chronic ankle injury, is still not certain to stay while negotiations with parent club Guangzhou Evergrande are ongoing. The 32-year-old Colombian is still under contract in the Far East until the end of the year, but the situation may be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction once the Chinese transfer window opens on July 1.

Alternative João Carlos, also on loan, has returned to Fluminense while 21-year-old recent signing Beto from non-league Olímpico do Montijo, considered to be short of top level experience, is likely to start the season in the U-23s.

Lastly, one-time target Anderson Julio has moved out of Portimonense’s financial reach following good performances for Quito during the recent South American club championships which have inflated his asking price.

No such problems exist in midfield where latest signing Paulo Estrela is expected to partner previous loan signing Rômulo. The 20-year-old Porto talent signed a three-year contract last week following an impressive season with the ‘B’ team as well as helping Porto win the UEFA Youth League.

Another midfielder, Cássio Júnior, has also arrived in the Algarve on loan from São Paulo, but will have to prove his worth in the U-23s to begin with.

Meanwhile, the dates and times for next month’s Copa Ibérica matches forming part of Porto’s training camp in the region have been made known although still awaiting official confirmation – Portimonense are to play Getafe, who finished fifth in the Spanish league and qualified for Europe, at 6pm on July 19, followed by Porto v Betis Seville at 8.15pm on the same evening. The final between the two winners is scheduled for July 21, kick-off also at 8.15pm. All matches to be played at the Municipal Stadium and open to the public.