Blasters will travel to Kolkata to take on ATK in the league opener on September 29, 2018. David James' side filled their quota of seven foreign players following the signing of Serbian midfielder Nikola Krcmarevic.
After signing the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Brown last season, the Kochi-based team seems to have adopted a more carefully planned approach in the transfer market this season. David James also seems to place his trust in a lot of young players who have earned their ticket to the first team.
"There are a lot of youngsters in the squad this time around, especially the Indian players. The defence is strong. The difference between Blasters and other teams is their defence. The defence of the most successful teams in ISL has been led by foreign players," Pradeep opined to Goal .
Blasters have roped in Kerala's Santosh Trophy stars Jithin MS and Afdal. Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, who knocked on the doors of the first team last season after James' arrival, started the games against Melbourne City and Girona FC at the La Liga tournament held in Kochi in July. Although the team tasted defeat in both games, Prasanth's display received widespread praise.
"They (Kerala Blasters) played the (LaLiga) tournament after only a few days of preseason training. Their fitness levels were a work in progress. Still, they put out a decent display against two world-class teams.
"I feel Blasters will do well this season because of the youth aspect of the squad. Players like Prasanth who had the chance to train in Finland will get more minutes this season," the former Kerala Blasters scout said.
The former Indian national team midfielder was in charge of the scouting at Kerala Blasters in the second season of ISL. He was instrumental in spotting the talent of players such as Prasanth and Sahal Abdul Samad.
David James and his squad are presently training at the Transstadia in Ahmedabad and will embark on an Asian sojourn for further preseason training before their league kick-off on September 29.