10 May was the date of the last league match to be played at Omiya Park - a gloomy 2-1 defeat at the hands of lowly Consadole Sapporo - and Saturday evening's game against Jubilo Iwata provides an opportunity for the Mighty Squirrels to turn around the poor results that they have generally achieved at their revamped home stadium. The last win was at the beginning of April when Oita Trinita were sent back to Kyushu having been beaten 2-0 and, since moving back home, Ardija have broadly speaking struggled to turn the place into the kind of venue where opposing teams fear to play.
One possible source of optimism for Omiya supporters is the arrival in Saitama of giant Slovenian forward Klemen Lavric, who participated in an experimental training match on Friday, being paired with both Denis Marques and Kota Yoshihara at different times. Fans will be hoping that the newcomer plays a part against a Jubilo side whose poor recent results have seen them slip into the relegation play-off spot.
Ardija were at their most infuriatingly inconsistent last Saturday, Chikara Fujimoto pronouncing himself "ashamed" at their level of performance in the 1-0 loss at Vissel Kobe, while substitute Hayato Hashimoto confessed that the team's improved second half performance that day was to a great extent a result of coach Jun Nakamura venting his anger during the interval.
It is the midfield that seemingly is the main problem area at present for Omiya, as Daigo Kobayashi's form continues to implode - it is difficult to remember the last time that the former Tokyo Verdy man made a telling contribution, or delivered a good quality set piece - while the likes of Shin Kanazawa and rookie Kohei Tokita have in all honesty displayed the quality required to make an impact at J1 level only in fits and starts. Jubilo at home is surely the opportunity to turn over a new leaf.