The Red Lizards play host to the Mariners in their first home tie of the I-League 2013-14 season...
Pune FC will be geared up to challenge Mohun Bagan in an encounter both wouldn’t want to miss out on registering three points from.
Having garnered four points from a possible six from their two away fixtures at the start of the I-League campaign, the home side will be keen to take forward their good run of form into round four tie at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
Douhou Pierre is yet to get to his best shape as he is carrying an injury from last season. Shanmugham Venkatesh has only just begun to train after recovering from an injury while Dhanpal Ganesh looks a doubtful starter.
“The first home game is the same as playing away and the expectations from the team are the same. However it will be different in the sense that the fans want to see the new team as we have lots of new faces in the squad,” Pune FC coach Mike Snoei said.
The Red Lizards will be boosted with the availability of striker Raul Fabiani who scored twice in their opening fixture before getting himself sent-off by picking a second booking for having taken his short off in celebration.
Speaking on his opponents, Snoei believes that the Kolkata outfit are a top side despite the absence of their talismanic striker Odafa Okolie.
“They are a good team. I have done my research on them and also saw their game against Churchill Brothers. They are missing their striker (Odafa Okolie) but they do have another centre-forward (Eric Muranda),” Snoei observed.
Mohun Bagan seems to have been boosted by the wins in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) where they scored several goals with Eric Muranda also being on the score sheet.
Karim Bencherifa backs his side to put up a decent showing against Pune FC having had two training sessions at the venue.
After two draws in as many matches, the Green and Maroon outfit would hope that their fortunes change if they have any hopes of putting in a title challenge this term. The absence of Odafa has certainly crippled their side as goals are hard to come by.
"It's time for us to win as the league leaders are five points ahead of us, though having played a game more," Bencherifa said.