Derrick Pereira's side will look to snap full points to strengthen their title bid when they face Arthur Papas's boys on Wednesday.Dempo Sports Club will face title contenders Salgaocar FC in a Goan derby on Wednesday, in an I-League encounter to be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The Golden Eagles, who have won all three of their league encounters after the winter break, and also enjoyed a good run in the Federation Cup. The winter signings of Tolgay Ozbey and Haroon Amiri have gelled well with the team.
However, Simon Colosimo and Clifford Miranda are suspended for the match. While Clifford had featured in all 18 of Dempo's I-League fixtures this season, Colosimo started in 14 of them. However, Haroon Amiri returns to the side after missing out the Sporting Clube de Goa match and will be replacing Colosimo at the heart of the defense.
The coach also has a number of injury owes in the team and will make the final call before the match. "There are a couple injury concerns so we will be making a final decision on the eve of the game," Papas informed.
The coach also remarked that the clash against this in-form Salgaocar side will be a good yardstick for his team as well.
"It is a good challenge for us to measure how we have progressed as a group. We have a lot of respect for Salgaocar and will not be underestimating them. I am optimistic that being a derby match the eleven that steps onto the field will come out with the desire to secure all three points," he said.
On the other hand, Salgaocar have recovered brilliantly from a mid-season slump and have won all four of their matches in the competition after the winter break. The inclusion of Dudu Omagbemi has been the spark the team was looking for midway into the season. The former Sporting Clube de Goa striker has scored in all four of his appearances in the league so far and his partnership with Darryl Duffy will be hard to handle for Dempo defense.
Nicolau Colaco will be unavailable for the fixture after sustaining an injury against Shillong Lajong while Francis Fernandez is not match fit yet.
Derrick Pereira, also held his opponents in high regards and stressed that Dempo look like a new side now.
"They (Dempo) have got a few new players since we played them last. They have got in Sanju Pradhan, Pronay Halder and a lot of Pailan Arrows players. And, of course, they have changed their foreigners also - [Haroon] Amiri and Tolgay [Ozbey] have come in. They have almost changed the team," he told.
Salgaocar still are very much in the title hunt and have seven points less than chart-toppers Bengaluru FC, having played a game less.
Both the teams have enjoyed a ten-day break prior to today's game which means they will start afresh in what looks like a rasping battle in the offing for the football lovers in Goa.