Orlando Pirates will be looking to continue their good recent league form when they visit Black Leopards for their Absa Premiership clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday
The Buccaneers go into the latest round of fixtures in second place, four points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
But after a stuttering start under new coach Roger de Sa, they look as though they have found some consistency with back-to-back league wins over Mamelodi Sundowns (3-1) and Free State Stars (1-0).
The big talking point ahead of the game will be whether striker Benni McCarthy will return to action after two-and-a-half months out with a hamstring injury.
De Sa has juggled his strikers in recent weeks, seemingly unsure of his best combination as Collins Mbesuma, Takesure Chinyama, Ndumiso Mabena and Thulasize Mbuyane have all had a run.
A fit McCarthy would almost certainly be first-choice, his ego would demand it, but just who will partner him is the matter of some debate.
Pirates will be overwhelming favourites for this fixture. They have won their last five meetings with Leopards in the league and cup since Lidoda Duvha were promoted back to the top-flight.
The Polokwane side have looked like an improved outfit under new coach Ian Palmer and will certainly be out to prove a point against Bucs.
The players got a huge lift from their last game, a 1-0 win at Ajax Cape Town that moved them five points clear of the relegation zone.Beating Bucs for just the second time in their history could be a season-defining moment and that is the challenge that awaits the players on Wednesday evening.
|DID YOU KNOW|
- In head-to-head stats, Leopards and Pirates have met in 16 league matches since 2001/02. Bucs have an excellent record against Lidoda Duvha, claiming 12 wins while suffering just the one defeat.
Leopards’ one and only win over Pirates came at home back in the 2002/03 season, a full decade ago.
Last season Bucs did a league ‘double’ over their Limpopo opponents, winning 2-0 in Polokwane and 1-0 in Soweto.
- The Limpopo side has recorded one win, three draws and one loss from their five home league matches so far this season.