Local players will again be given an opportunity to display their wares in big league company on Saturday afternoon when several luminaries of the Lehigh Valley Soccer League will be included in the Bethlehem lineup in the game against the Philadelphia Centennials. The game, an Eastern Soccer League contest, will be played on the home field, starting at two o'clock.
That some of the Valley League players have developed to an extent which warrants a trial in faster company is the opinion of the Bethlehem management and in recent weeks scouts have been active in looking over these clubs.
A player who impressed strongly with his sparkling defensive work in the North and South Sides Christmas Day clash, and gives promise of being able to make the grade in the big league competition is Fernandez, left halfback of the El Dos de Mayo eleven, champion of the first half league season.
The Castillian convinced the management that he has a thorough knowledge of the game, is a hard and aggressive player and if properly groomed and experienced by playing along side of the Bethlehem veterans, will be a valuable man.
The club also intends to give Gerlach, speedy outside left of the Wanderers another trial and the opportunity may come in the Philly game. Gerlach played one game with the Bethlehem team but being unfamiliar with the tactics of his mates on the forward line, the trial was hardly a fair test.
Joe Morrison, Wanderer center halfback, is the other Lehigh Valley Leaguer who will again be on hand and ready to take a place on the halfback line. Morrison played several games recently and with each game is becoming more adept in the locals' style.
While it is certain that Tom Gillespie and Matt Wilson, wing forwards and fullback respectively, will be on the shelf for another week, there is a strong possibility that "Billy" Allen, fullback, and Willie Reid, halfback, will be able to take their regular positions. It is doubtful, however, if they will be allowed to play the entire game and it is for their relief that the local leaguers were secured as reserves.
With the exception of Gillespie, the forward line tentatively announced will have all the regulars in their positions. Rollo, absent in this combination in the past several games to fill in at halfback and fullback, is slated to start at his regular position of outside left.
The Centennials with its bevy of former Bethlehem players failed to impress in early season but recently have found their stride and are now regarded strong enough to give any club a hard battle. Former Bethlehem players who will grace the visitors' lineup are Hugh Reid, big fullback; the scrappy "Sturdy" Maxwell, a halfback, who after leaving Bethlehem starred with New Bedford; McGrillen, Irish Internationalist; Purgavie and Walter Jackson, the later three forwards. Mulstead, who pairs off with Reid at the back position, is another highly rated player as are Shortt and McCurdy, a brace of good halfbacks.
While the names of the local players were omitted in the tentative lineup announced this morning, it is almost assured that at least two of them will see service before the final whistle. Of the trio Fernandez, the sturdy Spaniard, has not had a chance with the big leaguers and the team is especially anxious to see him in action. The lineup:
Bethlehem -- Philadelphia
McClure -- G -- Kucklic
Marshall -- RFB -- Mulstead
Allan -- LFB -- Reid
Reid -- RHB -- Maxwell
Carnihan -- CHB -- Shortt
McGregor -- LHB -- McCurdy
Campbell -- OR -- Dunn
Jaap -- IR -- McGrillen
Stark -- CF -- Nealy
Massie -- IL -- Jackson
Rollo -- OL -- Purgavie