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[FM24] Dievs, svētī Latviju


Rikulec
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This is just plain wrong. I can see the international break dates on the schedule, but for some reason they're greyed out and I can't do anything. As it stands, we can't play friendlies in March or June. I'm reporting this as a bug. :(

 

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As expected, five of our players have already been recognised and called up by the U21 team. However, they decided to leave Roberts Šarando out despite him already getting some minutes at the newly-crowned champions Riga FC in the league. I'm not gonna complain about being able to pick him up!

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - November 2025 - Latvia Under 19s

Euro U19 Qualifying B Third Round

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Wow, just wow! It turns out that a front three of Šarando, Bespalovs, and Sprukts is quite formidable and when they played together, we were simply unstoppable. Believe it or not, we scored all five goals against Ukraine in the first half! I have no idea what happened there, we absolutely blew them away... and then Bespalovs got himself sent off with a stupid challenge. He was suspended for the Slovakia game and it showed. For the first time since I took over we failed to score and lost after an even game. The situation was still quite good for us though: Slovakia needed a win over Ukraine to advance, provided that we could beat Azerbaijan. And of course we did our part with another incredible attacking performance, Bespalovs dealing the final blow with a spectacular, Robben-esque goal after cutting inside and curling a beauty into the top far corner from 25 yards out. In the other game Slovakia only managed a draw against Ukraine, which only meant one thing...

We're in the final qualifying round!

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Our U18s were given a tough group and unfortunately they got relegated after what seems to be three close games. Perhaps they could have done better against Bulgaria. There's a silver lining though. In the division C group they got drawn into a group with Andorra and Armenia, so hopefully they can go back up and secure a place in the next qualifying round for us.

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10 hours ago, Rikulec said:

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This is just plain wrong. I can see the international break dates on the schedule, but for some reason they're greyed out and I can't do anything. As it stands, we can't play friendlies in March or June. I'm reporting this as a bug. :(

 

Quick update, now I don't seem to be able to arrange any friendlies at all, the dates are all greyed out. :( If I don't get a solution from SI, I'm afraid I'm gonna just leave the job and switch to club football after the next Euro qualifying cycle (or maybe move on to the U21 team if I get lucky).

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18 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Amazing job mate. As for the bug, Si doesn't care for International management many years now, especially for these teams (U21, U19).:onmehead:

I posted the bug report yesterday and I'm still waiting for an answer. Hopefully they can come up with something, but at the moment it's getting more and more likely that I'm gonna look for a club job sooner rather than later. :(

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It looks like the friendly bug has affected not only us, but also the U21 team. In other words, they play no games in March, which allows us to call up all the U19 players they would normally have. Haralds GudermanisJānis AizgrāvisIgors Silovs, and Nikita Ivanovs, among others, boost the ranks to help form the strongest team we've ever had. Reaching this stage is a historic success for us, and this kind of mobilisation adds yet another layer to it. Those players might give us the slightest of chances to achieve anything in this incredibly tough group.

We're the hosts of the tournament. Let's do the fans proud!

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Unlucky with the bug there! Refreshing to see you trying out international management so early in the game! Hopefully they can sort out the bug so that you can continue the good work in Latvia :D Good luck for the tournament mate! 

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Just now, DavidBeckham said:

Unlucky with the bug there! Refreshing to see you trying out international management so early in the game! Hopefully they can sort out the bug so that you can continue the good work in Latvia :D Good luck for the tournament mate! 

Thanks mate, although honestly I'm not very hopeful about the bug getting resolved anytime soon. Right now I'm focused on the tournament, after that... we'll see what happens.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - March 2026 - Latvia Under 19s

Euro U19 Qualifying A Fourth Round

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We got a point! Funnily enough it was the Italy game where we got really dominated by the opposition and were lucky that they didn't take their chances. Scotland was an even game where we conceded the second goal in injury time and the Netherlands were absolutely ruthless in front of our goal. We were never going to do any better than that, that draw against Italy is a fantastic result for us and this campaign has certainly been very successful for us.

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:seagull::seagull::seagull:

While we were pulling off small miracles, the U18s threw away a two-goal lead against Armenia and only beat Andorra by two. Their failure to get out of this miserable group means we don't get to play in the third qualifying round in November. Combined with the fixture bug, we could be looking at a year and a half without any games.

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Given all the circumstances, I feel like this is the right time to make the next step. I've taken the team as far as I can realistically take them. With the U18s' failure, we don't even get another shot at the Euro qualifiers this year, which is really frustrating. However, I could probably cope with the frustration and just compensate with some friendly games... if we could bloody arrange them! The bug essentially means the U19 team won't play any games until at least November 2027. It's a shame because I really enjoyed managing this side and getting new exciting prospects every year. Unfortunately the game seemingly has other plans for me.

I think it was a very successful three-year stint. We had some impressive performance during that period, including demolitions of Greece and Ukraine, putting nine goals past Azerbaijan in a competitive game and holding Italy to a draw in a historic tournament on our home soil. Plenty to be happy about!

There appears to be one more bug in the second screenshot as my record isn't displayed properly. The actual record should be 24 games played, 15 wins, 4 draws and 5 defeats with 74 goals scored and 33 conceded. More than three goals scored per game, not bad at all! Given Latvia's standing in the footballing world, I think it would be realistic for a young domestic manager who has achieved that with the U19 team to get a chance from a top division club.

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Before I get the chance to dive into the Latvian league, there's something you should be aware of. Here are the final league tables from the first three seasons of this save:

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The current table as of late May 2026:

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And the current real life table:

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In the game there's a crazy gulf in quality (and in the number of points) between the top half of the table and the rest. In real life traditionally there's also a massive difference between four big clubs (Riga FC, RFS, Valmiera - the current title holders - and FK Liepaja) and the others, however this season it's all about the two Riga clubs. With my current reputation there's no way I'm going to get a job at a top half club, it's going to be all about building up from the very bottom, probably getting involved in at least one relegation battle. It's a tough challenge, but very rewarding if I do make it to one of the top half clubs.

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On 12th June I got the chance to speak to the board of Grobiņas, currently sitting last in the table, two points off the play-off place and five points off safety. The league has entered a six-week break, presumably because of the World Cup, which means it's a perfect time to take over and work with the team for a while before resuming the relegation dogfight.

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Here's our first job in club football then. I negotiated my wage up to £300 p/w, which is still less than I earned at the national team.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - New Club - Grobiņas SC/LFS

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Laizāns becomes the youngest manager in the Latvian top flight, although born in the same year as Super Nova's Māris Landmanis.

Club Name: Grobiņas SC/LFS
Nickname: -
Year Founded: 2009
Status: Professional
Stadium: Grobinas stadiona (1,184 all-seater)

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You know what? This is a fairly decent and well balanced squad, much better than what I expected. Of course we're hardly top half quality, but there are some good players in here. The best ones are probably Artūrs BērziņšKirils Iļjins, and Ikuto Gomi. There are also two players who I've already met, Boriss Ķigurs and Kristians Sprukulis have both featured for the Latvian U19 side.

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Those are reasonable expectations, although I'm not entirely sure what the board mean by the latter stages of the cup. I guess we'll find out sooner rather than later as it's a cup game that's going to start our tenure less than a month from now.

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It's frustrating that the game has this bug in it. Would have liked to see you be able to continue with the U19s.

Is your plan to stay in Latvia for your whole career?

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18 minutes ago, DomD said:

It's frustrating that the game has this bug in it. Would have liked to see you be able to continue with the U19s.

Is your plan to stay in Latvia for your whole career?

It is frustrating, especially as I was really enjoying my time there. Definitely gonna come back to managing a youth international team at some point, probably not on this save though.

The plan is to have a realistic career progression. If I do well enough in the Latvian league to get approached by a club from abroad, I'm going to move.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - July 2026 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Friendlies

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We started off with a friendly against the B team to get both our fitness and morale up.

Virslīga

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What a start! Admittedly we got literally the easiest first two fixtures possible, but at the same time they are absolutely crucial for us given our current position. And remember we're talking about a team that hadn't won in their first 17 league games at all. To top it off, we ended the month with a draw against a strong Liepāja side. The tables have turned and now it's us who have a two-point cushion over the play-off spot and are five points clear of automatic relegation.

Latvijas Kauss

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We began our cup journey in the fourth round with a home tie against lower league Rēzekne and beat them fairly comfortably despite the final result suggesting otherwise.

We advance to the quarter finals, where we're going to face Tukums at home.

Transfers

Luka Savić - we paid £5,5K for a 202 cm tall Serbian goalkeeper to give us an intimidating presence between the sticks.

Dainis Strods - a familiar name, the former U19 national team player comes on a free from RFS to provide cover at defensive midfielder.

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Good luck in Latvian club football.

I felt a bit guilty that for years lots of us wanted 'new nations' and then when Latvia was added, it didn't get much attention. There are some decent Brazilians and young Africans playing over there, so it holds a small curiosity even if I may never manage there myself  :)

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2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Good luck in Latvian club football.

I felt a bit guilty that for years lots of us wanted 'new nations' and then when Latvia was added, it didn't get much attention. There are some decent Brazilians and young Africans playing over there, so it holds a small curiosity even if I may never manage there myself  :)

Thank you! Latvia is certainly quite an interesting league right now, there are some ambitious projects, especially at the two Riga clubs, and they're getting in decent players as well. It was actually the Latvian FA who wanted the league to be added to the game and they actively helped SI with carrying it out IIRC. It's an interesting league to play in, certainly challenging if you're not at one of the top clubs. For me there's another layer to this as I'm in touch with a guy who used to manage Spartaks Jurmala, who at that time were in the top flight, and with his help I might be able to arrange a study visit at RFS or another big club. The market for coaches and other staff members there is fairly open, and with me about to finish the UEFA A course and start a specialist course in performance analysis next month, and possibly developing some contacts there... who knows? :brock:

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - August 2026 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Virslīga

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Well, here's further proof of the difference in quality between the two halves of the league table. We beat another bottom half team BFC fairly comfortably before falling to four defeats in a row against the better teams. We probably could have done better against both Auda and especially Valmiera, but they were clinical in front of goal while we just weren't. However, despite those defeats we've kept our heads above the water and we have two games in hand over Super Nova.

Latvijas Kauss

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A big win and a very good performance.

The semi final is another winnable tie as we got Metta at home.

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15 minutes ago, Rikulec said:

Thank you! Latvia is certainly quite an interesting league right now, there are some ambitious projects, especially at the two Riga clubs, and they're getting in decent players as well. It was actually the Latvian FA who wanted the league to be added to the game and they actively helped SI with carrying it out IIRC. It's an interesting league to play in, certainly challenging if you're not at one of the top clubs. For me there's another layer to this as I'm in touch with a guy who used to manage Spartaks Jurmala, who at that time were in the top flight, and with his help I might be able to arrange a study visit at RFS or another big club. The market for coaches and other staff members there is fairly open, and with me about to finish the UEFA A course and start a specialist course in performance analysis next month, and possibly developing some contacts there... who knows? :brock:

Yes that is correct about the Latvian FA wanting to have it added. I recall Spartaks from the top flight, and think the two Riga clubs and Valmiera have probably shown most ambition in the last few years. It's good that you have a personal reason for taking on the save, best of luck as always!

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6 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Yes that is correct about the Latvian FA wanting to have it added. I recall Spartaks from the top flight, and think the two Riga clubs and Valmiera have probably shown most ambition in the last few years. It's good that you have a personal reason for taking on the save, best of luck as always!

You're right about the most ambitious projects, I also heard about Metta having probably the best academy in Latvia and also actively promoting Latvian national identity and culture. In contrast to many other clubs they don't have any foreign investment either. You know, the more we talk about it, the more eager I get to actually go there and experience all those things by myself! :lol:

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - September 2026 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Virslīga

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Yes, that's five away games in a row. No idea why. As for the results, we went on a five-game unbeaten streak and have pulled firmly away from Super Nova and Tukums, we're all but safe now. The highlight of the month is surely the draw at Liepāja, we fought back from being two goals down at half time and brought home a well earned point.

Latvijas Kauss

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Boom, we're in the cup final for the first time in club's history! Admittedly we've been more than lucky with the draws, but you still need to take your chances when they come at you and we did just that. A good performance, it was a matter of when we were going to break through and score.

Liepāja and Riga face off in the other semi final and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for the former to win, seeing as we've already drawn against them on both occasions we met in the league.

Youth Intake

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I was expecting complete dross, but this could actually be a decent intake. I quite like the look of Samoilovs and Semjonovs.

Rinalds Samoilovs

Nikolajs Grigjans

Nils Semjonovs

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5 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

Underrated gem, is Rimalds. I would be retraining him to a Full Back however 

I was thinking about Mezzala after getting rid of the "stops play" PPM, but the more I look at him now, the more the idea of making him a full back appeals to me. :thup:

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Alright then. Don't get me wrong, they're strong favourites here. However, we seem to be doing well in games against them and on a very good day for us, if everything goes our way... maybe, just maybe we can pull off a massive upset here. And even if we don't, it's going to be a great experience for the fans just being in the cup final for the first time in club's history!

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Here we are then, the big day has arrived. We've had some defensive issues in the league lately, but we're a team that probably relies on its attacking power rather than stability at the back. Just one game separates us from unexpected cup glory and historic success for our tiny little club. Can we do it against all odds?

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It wasn't to be. :( Our opponents dominated possession and there wasn't much we could do about it, all we could muster was a bunch of half chances. Our goalkeeper Savić kept us in the game for a long time, but ultimately it was his mistake allowing Corréa a header into an open net. Still, we have a great campaign to be proud of, even if we got unlucky in the end.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - October 2026 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Virslīga

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We lost where we should have lost and won where we had a chance, although we were 2:0 up and cruising at half time against Valmiera before falling apart in the second half. On the other hand, we needed a 96th minute winner to beat BFC. With two games to go we can still theoretically finish 7th, we play Metta and Riga at home while BFC travel to Riga before ending the season with a home game against Super Nova.

Latvijas Kauss

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A disappointing performance, although we weren't the favourites there. I'm just happy that we got to the final.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - November 2026 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Virslīga

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A good end to the season with an emphatic win over Metta and a comfortable draw against Riga, who surprisingly miss out on European football despite winning the league last season and currently being in the Europa Conference League group stage. Their manager is still under no pressure though. Unfortunately BFC also picked up four points this month, meaning we didn't leapfrog them in the table.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - Season Review - 2026 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Virslīga

Results (Mar-May) - Results (Jun-Sep) (red line marks my arrival) - Results (Oct-Nov)

Competition Performance: 8th

To be honest, I have no idea why the previous manager did so badly with this team. When I arrived, we were bottom of the league with five points and no wins from 17 games. We finished the season 12 points clear off the playoff spot and a massive 22 points clear off relegation. Our average PPG since I took over puts us somewhere in the middle of the enormous gap between Riga in 5th and Metta in 6th, and I think that's where we are right now in terms of quality of the team.

Latvijas Kauss

Competition Performance: Runners-up

An unlikely run with plenty of luck in the draw right up to the final, unfortunately we came just short in the end.

Squad (1) Squad (2)

We have some decent players in there, and it's always nice to have a squad full of domestic players as well. There's a significant lack of depth and quality off the bench though, something I've already addressed, setting up a few free transfers for the next season. Meļņičenko is retiring and additionally we're releasing Aļekseičiks (decent player, but he's looking for a new challenge and wouldn't renew his contract), Roderts, Fjodorovs, and Vasiļevskis (all not good enough).

Transfers (red lines mark my arrival) - Finances

Not much activity to speak of in the transfer market so far. Both Savić and Strods have done well since joining, which is good.

We're quite deep in the red and we're the only team in the league whose finances are listed as insecure. Hopefully cutting down on the wage bill will help with that.

Player of the Season

1st - Kristians Sprukulis - the biggest surprise of the season really. I didn't have high hopes for him, perceiving him as a fringe player likely to get replaced ahead of the new season. He really rose up against all odds though, banging in goals in the second half of the season both as a starter and coming on off the bench. He's well and truly earned his place in the squad for the upcoming campaign.

2nd - Luka Savić - the only player we've paid money for so far and he's already repaying us. The big man between the sticks has proven that he can make some huge saves, probably the highlight of his season being the goalless draw against Auda, where he saved 10 shots, including a penalty.

3rd - Pjotrs Pavlovskis - another unlikely hero. Similarly to Sprukulis, he's a player with no apparent strengths or weaknesses, and yet he contributes with goals and assists in important moments to gain us crucial points. He's going to face fierce competition for the spot in the starting XI, but that's a dilemma that I like to have.

Next Season

I think the logical aim would be to finish 6th and that's what we're going for. Breaking into the top half seems to be outside the realm of possibility just yet.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - Season Preview - 2027 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Board Expectations:

Virslīga: Avoid relegation
Latvijas Kauss: Reach latter stages

My Expectations:

Virslīga: We should be finishing exactly 6th.
Latvijas Kauss: It all depends on the draw really. I want to beat anyone outside the top five if we draw them.

Budgets:

Transfer: £28,370
Wage: £10,109 (currently spending £7,823)
Balance: £424,250

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2 hours ago, SixPointer said:

At least there trying 

To be fair, combined with sponsorship money it seems to have done the trick so far.

2 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Hopefully a couple of young guns!

Hopefully, although they don't seem to have any players outside their first team. :(

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3 hours ago, Rikulec said:

To be fair, combined with sponsorship money it seems to have done the trick so far.

Hopefully, although they don't seem to have any players outside their first team. :(

Strange one. Italian clubs love a loan deal as well 

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - Pre-Season - 2027 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Friendlies

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We beat a local rival and then teams from Lithuania and Estonia before a disappointing loss at a lower league side Jelgava.

Transfers

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Yeah, uh, I might have gone a bit overboard here. :lol: In the end we managed to both improve squad depth and reduce our wage spending compared to last season though, so, success! As for the two players we sold for money, I felt Gomi's contributions didn't warrant a hefty £750 p/w wage and Bērziņš wanted to move to a bigger club (and ended up joining newly promoted Spartaks, what the ****?). And what about the, uh, twelve players I brought in?

Markuss Alpēns - he's not good enough to play for RFS and probably not good enough to start most games for us, but he should maintain a decent level when called upon.

Pape Fall - a very good left back about to enter his prime years, I'm pleased to have brought him in.

Jegors Novikovs - a backup right winger.

Kristaps Grabovskis - an old friend of mine from the Latvian U19s, the former Rapid Wien player should be a starter on the right wing.

Ņikita Pašņevs - although my coaches don't seem to rate him, I think he has all the right attributes in the right places to pose a real threat on the left hand side.

Einārs Blumers - a backup striker.

Artūrs Ļotčikovs - should become a starter at centre back and provide us with some much needed height and aerial strength.

Valerijs Aržeņinovs - another player back from the youth team days to boost the numbers at right back.

Daniels Pelcis - a rather limited player, but we needed another centre back for cover.

Ivo Minkevičs - yet another centre back, it's going to be a battle between him and Roberts Zelmanis for a place in the starting XI.

João Paulo - not a transfer I had planned, but when I saw him recommended by an intermediary, I just couldn't say no.

Marco Caputo - possibly the pick of the bunch if we can get his acceleration and pace up.

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Artjoms Laizāns' Management Career - March 2027 - Grobiņas SC/LFS

Virslīga

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Bang! What a start for us! While we were pretty much expected to beat Spartaks and Super Nova, a win over RFS is something else. We didn't dominate as the scoreline would suggest, the game was pretty even, but we took our chances while they just didn't. Our new signings are making a world of difference. Caputo is already banging the goals in, Pašņevs has three assists to his name, and Fall is absolutely bossing it as an inverted wing back.

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