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Stratev makes number of changes to lineup

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Zoran StratevZoran StratevManager Zoran Stratev announced several new starters for the Wales game while also shifting two regulars in Goran Pandev and Stefan Ristovski to other positions.

Zoran Stratev has decided to shift Goran Pandev from the attacking midfield role to the CF position and also move Stefan Ristovski from left-back to his natural right-back position.  Debutant Ezgjan Alioski will get the nod at left-back for the Wales game.  Thus far in the qualifications, Daniel Georgievski had been the regular starter at RB, but Stratev decided to drop him from the starting lineup due to bad form.

With Muhamed Demiri now healthy following a lengthy injury, he will reclaim his starting spot in defensive midfield where he will be partnered by Ostoja Stjepanovikj.  Meanwhile, Agim Ibraimi returns on the right wing after missing the previous game against Scotland with a yellow card suspension.  On the left wing, with Ivan Trichkovski out with an injury, Stratev has opted to go with Mirko Ivanovski.  Mirko only plays CF for his club team Astra, but Stratev has decided to put him on the wing.

Additionally, with Pandev moving to CF, his spot in attacking midfield will be filled by either Predrag Rangjelovikj or Darko Tasevski.  Stratev said he is leaning towards starting Rangjelovikj there, but is also keeping the option open of possibly giving the nod to Tasevski.  He will sleep on it and make that decision known tomorrow.

Goalkeeper Tome Pachovski and CB's Nikolche Noveski and Vanche Shikov will remain starters at their respective positions, as was the case under the previous manager.

Stratev has definitely made some gutsy selections in the starting lineup, especially with Alioski and Rangjelovikj (if he does indeed start over Tasevski).  Both players lack much experience and giving them their first starts on the road definitely carries a risk.  At the same time, with the current form of Georgievski and the fact that Tasevski has never seemed to make much of an impact with Macedonia, it doesn't hurt to try some new players to see what they can do.

Basically, the only motivation for the two teams heading into Friday's game is to avoid last place.  Nobody wants that dubious distinction.  Stratev has decided to freshen up the lineup, and we will see how the players respond in the game.

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