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NPFL Matchday 23 Previews: Abia Warriors set to cage Kano Pillars in Umuahia

9:10 pm AEST 3/6/18
Abia Warriors vs. Yobe Desert Stars
Lobi Stars look to extend their lead atop against Yobe Desert, the Uchendu Warriors aim to halt Masu Gida's run as topflight actions resume

Wikki Tourist vs Kwara United

The Giant Elephants will rally to claim the maximum points when they face struggling Harmony Warriors in a relegation battle at the New Jos Stadium on Sunday.

The hosts defeated Yobe Desert Stars 3-1 to return to winning ways for the first time after eight games and would plot to negotiate past the visitors to ease relegation fears.

Having found themselves in a precarious situation, Bala Nikyu's side will be fully charged to repeat the winning mentality against Yobe Desert against Bala Abubakar's men.

On the other hand, the Warriors will be hoping to continue with their impressive form after staying unbeaten in their last four matches, including a 3-1 home win over MFM.

Both teams sit side by side on 16th and 17th spots on the log respectively, with the same 26 points after 22 games and a win could take one of them to 11th place on Sunday.

Lobi Stars vs Yobe Desert Stars

The table-toppers are facing another test of the resolve at home in their title pursuit against the top-flight newcomers at the Aper Aku Stadium, Markudi.

The Pride of Benue will be eyeing a back-to-back league win following their 1-0 home triumph over Enugu Rangers courtesy's Anthony Okpotu's brilliant second half effort.

Having resumed from the state FA Cup break, the hosts, though boasts of a massive four-point advantage on the summit would set their sight on extending their lead at the top.

While striving to ground out a home win, they will be hoping their closest challenges in Kano Pillars and Plateau United suffer a slip-up in Umuahia and Maiduguri this weekend.

Meanwhile, 12th-placed Yobe Desert, who are only two points above the relegation places will be anxious to upstage the leaders in the bid to avoid falling into the drop zone.

More importantly, Muhammed Babaganaru's side will desperately seek to avoid the third defeat in five consecutive league matches, including the recent 3-1 loss at Wikki Tourist.


Heartland vs Go Round

Bottom-rocked Naze Millionaire can end their horrible winless run when they face fellow relegation-threatened topflight debutants at the Dan Anyiam Stadium.

Before the FA Cup break, they narrowly lost 2-1 at Sunshine Stars, and would be poised to put up a fine display to earn their first win in eight games this weekend.

With 10 points separating them from safety, the hosts will have in mind that a win over Ngozi Elechi's side in Owerri will hand their survival hopes a huge boost.

On their part, the Omuku Boys, who recently bowed 1-0 to Akwa United, will be aiming to escape a back-to-back defeat on their travels against their hosts in Owerri.

18th-placed Elechi's men will count on the experience of new chief coach Wilfred Udube from Nnewi United to upset their fellow strugglers in their strive for survival.

Katsina United vs Enugu Rangers

The Chanji Boys can fire themselves back into the frame for a continental spot when they welcome the troublesome Flying Antelopes to the Muhammed Dikko Stadium.

After securing a 1-0 win over Sunshine Stars, the home side will be looking to build upon their impressive home form to overcome Gbenga Ogunbote's side and climb to second.

While, Rangers, who lost their first game in five in 1-0 defeat at Lobi Stars, will be eager to post their impressive away record when they face Abdullahi Biffo's men.

Ogunbote's side will be searching for the second away win since January on their second trip on the bounce against the Katsina side, who have won 10 of the 11 home games.

The visitors are 10th on the log with 30 points and an away win this weekend could power them to the sixth position.


Nasarawa United  vs Enyimba

The Solid Miners are under huge pressure to avoid dropping into the relegation zone as they look out for their first win in three games against the People Elephants.

Kabiru Dogo's side fell 2-1 to Plateau United before being recently held to a goalless draw by Kano Pillars, sitting two places above the bottom four on goal difference.

They must dig deep in their quest to subdue Paul Aigbogun's side, who boasts of a good away record among topflight teams, securing seven draws from 10 away games.

For the visitors, who lost 2-1 at Akwa United during the week, will nothing more than a positive away result, having seen their eight-match unbeaten run brought to an end.

Though having two games in hand, the ninth-placed Aba giants will hope an away win in Lafia will help them cut the nine-point gap with league leaders Lobi Stars to six.


Rivers United vs Sunshine Stars

The Pride of Rivers will target avenging their first leg 2-0 defeat when they battle the relegation-haunted Owena Whales at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium.

Stanley Eguma's side are still unbeaten in the second stanza despite their 0-0 home draw with Abia Warriors and would plot to compound their visitors' woes to earn three points.

Following their recent 1-0 win over holders Plateau United, Rivers' look to have regained their good form and will anticipate nothing short of victory.

Sunshine, on their own part, must defend for their lives to avoid it tenth defeat this season from coming in Port Harcourt following a recent 1-0 loss at Katsina United.

Henry Abiodun's men will be seeking to right their wrongs in Katsina as they push for a good outing against rejuvenated Eguma's side this weekend.


Abia Warriors vs Kano Pillars

The Uchendu Warriors face an uphill task in their attempt to upstage Kano Pillars at the Umuahia Township Stadium.

The Umuahia outfit have been on an impressive form in recent times, earning three wins in last four games, including a 1-0 away win against MFM FC in Lagos.

Despite their good run lately, they have been held four times at home this season - an ugly trend they must not permit against Pillars, who are undefeated in last five games.

For the Sai Masu Gida Boys, they will be gunning for their first away win after securing seven draws in 11 away matches, including last 0-0 draw at Nasarawa United.

Ibrahim Musa's side will be relying on Junior Lokosa's experience after his senior debut for Nigeria against Congo DR against Emmanuel Deutsch’s side.


El Kanemi Warriors  vs Plateau United

The Borno Army will slug it out for the maximum points against the title holders as they seek to return to winning ways at the Maiduguri Township Stadium.

Despite the absence of coach Imama Amakapabo for national duties, his players must play out their hearts to bounce back from 1-0 defeat at Abia Warriors against the Peace Boys.

The hosts need to put up a clinical display against impressive champions to seal the three points to steer clear of the relegation zone this weekend.

Plateau, on their side, will see the tie as a big chance to gain their first away win this season, taking advantage of their 15th-placed El Kanemi's galloping form.

Knowing a win and a home loss for Lobi Stars, could see them cut the lead of the leaders to a point, Kennedy Boboye's side will look to add to their hosts' misery in Maiduguri.


FC Ifeanyi Ubah  vs MFM FC

The Anambra Warriors will be eager to bounce back from their 2-1 home defeat to Niger Tornadoes when they host MFM FC in a top-flight encounter in Nnewi.

After their first home defeat this season against Tornadoes, Ladan Bosso's side saw their good run halted and they are in dire need to earn their first win in four games.

The hosts will look to avoid another slip up at home after dropping nine points at home as they set sight on climbing back into the top ten places.

Meanwhile, the Olukoya Boys, who claimed a 2-1 win in their initial meeting this season, will aim for a good result in Nnewi to stay off the bottom four.

Despite sitting in 13th spot, Fedilis Ilechukwu's side will be seeking to compound the woes of the Warriors, continuing from where Tornadoes stopped on their last visit.