By Iacovos Constantinou
APOLLON v Omonia in Limassol is the standout game of the 19th round of the Cyprus football championship this weekend.
Elsewhere, leaders AEK are at home to AEL while bottom of the table Ayia Napa entertain second-placed Anorthosis.
Following their unexpected defeat against Ethnikos last Monday, Apollon will be looking to put their championship charge back on track against much improved Omonia.
Papoulis is a major doubt for the game as he picked up an injury during a training session and with Guie’s absence a certainty, Apollon coach Pedro Emmanuel may have to rejig his forward line even more.
Omonia are enjoying a purple patch with four wins and a draw in their last five games. A win over Apollon will see them leapfrog their opponents into fourth place, a position they have not held since the early stages of the season.
There are no injury concerns for the visitors who will be hoping that 38-year-old Nuno Assis will continue to impress with his virtuoso displays.
Leaders AEK are up against AEL in what appears, on paper at least, to be an easy game for the Larnaca team. Their opponents are languishing in 11th place, having scored just ten goals.
However they will be without the suspended duo of Tomas and Boljevic, both so influential in the middle of the park for AEK.
Laban is expected to get a recall to the starting line-up while the other position may go to recent signing Rosa.
Goal-shy AEL, precariously close to the relegation zone, will be hoping that their new signings of Stepanovic and Piech will give them some more cutting edge up front. Soares is expected to drop back into defence to replace the suspended Adrande.
Second-placed Anorthosis will be favourites for their clash against Ayia Napa but they will need to improve irrespective of the position of their opponents.
Seven points separate bottom of the league Ayia Napa with Paphos just above them, but their coach Kosmas said that his players will battle for survival until the very end, something that Anorthosis should not dismiss.
APOEL seem to have bounced back from their surprise defeat to Doxa a couple of weeks ago with a couple of comfortable wins in the league and cup.
With winter signings Gianniotas and Milanov slotting easily into the team and with an injury list dwindling, the home side should have few problems in overcoming Enosis.
The visitors will be without the suspended trio of Budimir, van Ransbeeck and Bouwman, players that most often than not are in the starting line-up. Winter signing Santini is expected to make his debut in goal.
The two other weekend games involve four mid-table teams that are separated by just three points.
The pleasant surprise of the season so far Doxa travel to Limassol to face Aris while Ermis are at home to Ethnikos Achnas.
The final game of the round takes place on Monday between struggling Paphos and sixth-placed Nea Salamina.
Saturday: Apollon v Omonia (17.00), Ayia Napa v Anorthosis (18.00), AEK v AEL (19.00)
Sunday: Ermis v Ethnikos Achnas (16.00), Aris v Doxa (17.00), APOEL v Enosis (18.00)
Monday: Paphos FC v Nea Salamina (19.00)