Kolkata: Wary of playing at home, ATK chief coach Teddy Sheringham said it seems like playing at a "neutral venue" as they are yet to train at the revamped Salt Lake Stadium ahead of their Indian Super League home match against FC Pune City.
"You may think it sounds funny but to understand certain parts of the stadium is important. We have been on it. It should be an advantage as it's our home. But we have not been allowed to train on it. We have been allowed to step on it which is very nice of the groundstaff," the Englishman said at the pre-match press conference.
After their first match at home, ATK will be on the road for three back-to-back away games beginning with Jamshedpur FC, Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC.
"The first few games would seem like neutral for everybody. But the more we play, we would look to make it our fortress. We would have loved to train on the ground as we would then get to know our surroundings.
"The more you play on a pitch the more you get to understand that. It should be an advantage but it's a first time for lot of us," he said.
ATK had to make the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium as their home venue as Salt Lake Stadium was up for renovation for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The revamped Salt Lake Stadium has hosted 11 matches of the U-17 World Cup including the summit clash on October 28 as ATK will have the first feel of their home venue on Sunday.
"When we play, we target a win. We need to impress our fans. We'll love to have a full house tomorrow. Play well obviously," the former Tottenham and Manchester United forward said.
Talking about their rivals, Sheringham further said the previous ISL experience among Pune's overseas players might give them the edge.
"Pune have quite a few foreigners who have already played in the ISL so they have an advantage. We have to be our best against them," he said.
Giving a fitness update on the rest of the squad, he said midfielder Shankar Sampingiraj will make a return while defender Ashutosh Mehta and Anwar Ali would remain sidelined.
"Ashu (Ashutosh) hamstring issue, he is recovering quickly. He will be back soon, Anwar has the same injury. Jayesh (has a) knee injury. It is taking a longer time than what we expected. Shankar has recovered and is back.
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Updated Date: Nov 25, 2017 20:44:55 IST