Prva Liga pacesetters FK Makedonija GP Skopje have been forced into some squad reshuffling during the winter break as they strive to consolidate their lead over the chasing pack and secure their maiden title in F.Y.R. Macedonia.
Comings and goings
Ahead of the league's resumption in early March, Makedonija have lost the services of Da Silva Washington – their second-top scorer with six goals – to Serbian club FK Partizan, and are likely to be without Daniel Mojsov, who has indicated his desire to move abroad before the closure of the January transfer window. The club have, however, managed to draft in replacements in a bid to ensure that their seven-point lead is not compromised, signing striker Blagojce Kleckarovski from mid-table outfit FK Turnovo and their 30-year-old former defender Igor Kralevski from Russia's FC Luch-Energia Vladivostok on a one-year deal.
"In the last two years I have been far away from my home country," said Kralevski, who scored two goals in 14 appearances for the club during the 2001/02 campaign before moving on to FK Rabotnicki and HNK Hajduk Split. "I felt homesick and I had a great desire to return to F.Y.R. Macedonia. I signed for Makedonija GP because they have ambitions to take the Prva Liga title."
The league's eleven teams have started their preparations for the restart and for the time being at least, Makedonija are to remain at a base in the south of the country in Negorci prior to flying to Antalya, Turkey, for some warm-weather training and friendlies against Stabæk IF and SV Mattersburg. "Our preparations are going according to plan," said coach Ilco Gjorgjioski. "All the players are giving their best in readiness for the rest of the season. We're training twice a day and I hope that the weather conditions will allow us to play two friendly matches."
Makedonija lost just once in 16 matches during the first part of the season and lead nearest pursuers FK Milano by seven points while champions Rabotnicki are one point and one place further back. When the league resumes on 1 March Gjorgjioski's team are at home to fourth-placed FK Renova while Milano travel to strugglers FK Napredok.
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