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EB play to salvage pride vs Churchill
- Bhaichung may be tired in midfield

Calcutta: It is going to be a battle of survival for East Bengal. A battle to boost the team’s confidence for tougher tests that lie ahead and make the players believe in their own abilities.

With only two points from three games, East Bengal will have to go all out against Churchill Brothers in their first home match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. And coach Subhas Bhowmick is determined to prove his detractors wrong as to the form, fitness and bench strength of the team.

Douglas da Silva and Chandan Das are unavailable because of injuries but M. Suresh will be back in defence to give the much-needed solidity and assurance.

Bhowmick has decided to try out Bhaichung Bhutia, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, as a midfielder on Tuesday. “He has led the national team and can handle pressure in tough situations. Hopefully he can fit into the slot,” said Bhowmick after practice.

“It’s a big responsibility and will try to fulfil the demands to the best of my capabilities,” Bhutia added.

This will mean Christian Junior, who will make his debut for the club, will partner Mike Okoro upfront. The Brazilian is very confident of putting up a good show.

Bhowmick is not taking anything lightly and is giving due respect to his opponents. “Churchill are a very good side. We’ll have to perform to the best of our abilities to put it across them,” said Bhowmick.

Chruchill, who have three points from five games, have promised an open game. “We’ll go all out for victory,” said coach Marcus Pacheco. The players are confident that they can stop East Bengal forwards in their own backyard.

Chruchill will depend heavily on Yusif Yakubu upfront and Osumanu Husseini in the deep defence to pull up a victory.

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