Preview: Jamshedpur FC will have their task cut out when they host FC Pune City in a crunch Indian Super League clash at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Saturday.
With as many as five teams battling it out for three playoff spots, Jamshedpur cannot slip in the remaining three league games.
Cesar Ferrando's men currently find themselves out of the top-four and anything other than a win on Saturday could see hopes of making the playoffs for the first time take a beating.
The 'Men of Steel' had to wait until the 80th minute for Memo to strike the winning goal against Mumbai City in their last match to keep their last four hopes alive.
"Both teams will want to win obviously. If we want to make top-four, we need to win. The team is working very hard and is very well prepared. To deliver under pressure is important. The fans have supported as well throughout and we are ready to win," said Ferrando.
The head coach will welcome back Carlos Calvo who is set to return after his three-game suspension. Winger Michael Soosairaj's fitness is also being monitored and he might make the matchday squad.
The 23 goals scored by Jamshedpur so far in the campaign have been spread out among the team but Spaniard Sergio Cidoncha will be extremely key to the side's attacking threat with his excellent set-piece deliveries and crosses.
Jamshedpur have been unbeaten in their seven home clashes this season and that is a record they will hope to extend with the upcoming clash against Pune as well as the final league game against Bengaluru FC.
Pune City, on the other hand, have experienced a recent resurgence after a disastrous first half of the campaign. The Pune-based outfit comes into the clash against Jamshedpur on the back of three victories in their last four encounters in which they are yet to taste defeat.
Having appointed former Hull City boss Phil Brown as the head coach during the winter break, Pune recorded an impressive away victory over defending champions Chennaiyin FC before coming back from a goal down to snatch a point against ATK.
Against Jamshedpur, Brown is counting on his defence to stand up and deliver.
"To come to Jamshedpur, we have to come with the belief that we can be strong when we haven't got the ball. Jamshedpur is a very good team and it is our biggest challenge. We have to be prepared for very long periods where we haven't got the ball. That for me is the mentality," said Brown.
Pune City's playoff hopes might be all but over barring a miraculous run of results. But failure to pick a win on Saturday will rule them out mathematically.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2019 22:40:06 IST