Pune FC will be out to bury the ghosts of Kolkata and continue their recent run of successes in away matches when they take on Pailan Arrows in an I-League game at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, on Thursday.
Having gone through a forgettable season beginning with injuries in the Federation Cup to key players – ‘keeper Subrata Paul and strIker Mandjou Keita the impact of their absence led to two successive losses which was the worst phase the club went through in terms of results since inception.
With Pailan Arrows struggling with form and currently languishing in ‘drop zone,’ it is this Round 12 tie Pune FC eyes to rework a script gone wrong in the City of Joy after undergoing a complete turnaround since their last visit to the city.
Coach Derrick Pereira, explains, “I am hoping to have a good third outing here (in Kolkata). Gaining maximum from the game would do us good going into the next round of games that involves Kolkata sides-East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.”
On the other hand, the Kolkata side themselves will be out with reason of not slipping further and possibly even try to end their winless run so far, which means Pune FC shall have to go into the game dead focused. In fact, the Kolkata side at home has proved to be a tough cookie with five of the six points they sport coming from draws in the six matches they played at YBK.
Currently seventh on then league table, Pune FC find themselves cluttered with Prayag United and Air-India in a mid-table battle that has one-point separate the latter, while the former is level on points but hold a better head to head record. Full points will also mean upstaging Air-India and moving up the table apart from opening their account against Kolkata teams.
As a team the Pune FC coach explains, “They (Arrows) are young and fit side and have a fair mix of good players with some still in the process of gaining experience,” and adds, “this is just my assessment and I am in no way underestimating them. I have not seen them much and honestly it is just one match that I have seen of them.”
However, in saying so, the coach feels that his players will need to continue the play-to-win attitude that has helped the teamwork out good results. “Playing to potential will be utmost, but if my boys can get an early goal the match will be much different.”
Pune FC goes into the match with two omissions from the previous travelling 18 with Ganeshan and Rollingson Hungyo making way for Baldeep Singh and Anas Edathodika. Baldeep has recovered from the fever he contracted, while Anas returns after a one-match suspension.
Interestingly, the match will be a first for goalkeeper Abhra Mondal in Kolkata ever since he moved to Pune FC as an on-loan player.
Both Pune FC and Arrows teams meet for the third time in the league with Pune FC holding the edge by winning once, while the other has ended in a draw.
FORM RUN (Last 5 matches)
Pune FC (7th, 18 points): W-D-W-W-W
Pailan Arrows (13th, 23 points): L-D-D-D-D
10/04/11 IL Arrows 0-0 Pune FC
05/02/11 IL Pune FC 3-0 Arrows