An injury-hit United Sports Club side will look to take full advantage of Pune FC's miserable form of late...
Pune FC will try to recover from their slump in form when they face United Sports Club on Sunday at the Kalyani Stadium in Kolkata.
With United SC's financial woes being well documented, the players’ morale is at an all-time low. In addition to that, the club have several players on the treatment table which has limited coach Eelco Schattorie's options.
Though Lalkamal Bhowmick has come back from an injury which saw him miss over two months of action, Eric Brown and Hassan Al-Moustafa have been ruled out of the tie due to injury concerns.
"With four players not fit, it’s looking to be a very difficult task. Eric Brown (ankle), Hassan (hamstring), Snehasish Chakraborty (quadriceps) and Jayanta Sen (groin) will be assessed ahead of the game."
“The goalkeeper will still be an issue (with Sangram Mukherjee and Ishan Debnath out injured) and Abhijit Das will start. After a decent performance against Dempo where we didn’t score, we would go into the game with confidence. Pune is also in difficult period in their last games. So we might have a chance and we finally play at home again. I am trying to survive the last two games before the break and stay on top," he explained.
“These last weeks were crucial to keep competing for the top position. The league is not yet over but the next two games are very important and at the same time very difficult in these circumstances. First we will see how many fit players we have," said Schattorie.
Pune FC, the runners-up of the last edition have been in woeful form as they have failed to register a victory since the international break. They were lucky to get three points, courtesy of Salgaocar FC fielding an unregistered player. Their squad looks thin and lacks enough depth.
The travellers will be missing out promising winger Nikhil Kadam, who suffered a knee-injury in the last match against Mumbai FC. Arata Izumi, the Indian international is suspended for the game, while the foreign contingent of the Red Lizards are ready to take the field.
United were the first team to breach Pune FC’s backline at Balewadi Sports Complex and also took a point from the game. The Purple Brigade has never lost a home match against Pune and it remains to be seen whether this record can be broken by the away side this time.