Calcutta: Trevor James Morgan’s rivalry with David Booth goes back to ages.
From 1982 to 1985, when Morgan was playing for AFC Bourmouth, Bristol City and Exeter City (all League One clubs), he gave a harrowing time to the then Grimsby Town manager Booth.
Three decades later, the duo are set to renew the rivalry when a buoyant East Bengal face a struggling Salgaocar in an I-League Round VIII clash here, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Tuesday. Taking into account the current form, East Bengal are notches ahead of the Goa outfit, which languishes at No. 11 in the league table. So, you may think that Morgan’s men have a wonderful opportunity to extend their lead at the top.
But deep down, the East Bengal camp does have it in mind about Salgaocar being their party-pooper of late, especially in the I-League.
Therefore, irrespective of back-to-back rousing victories over Churchill Brothers and ONGC, East Bengal prefer to keep their fingers crossed till they break the Salgaocar jinx.
“They (Salgaocar) have been tough opponents for us in the recent past. It’s true that we’ll come out full-strength — probably for the first time against them — on Tuesday, which should be a crucial factor in the game.
“That said, we cannot afford to take any team lightly in a competition like the I-League, no matter how strong we are,” midfielder Mehtab Hossain reminded on the match-eve. Coach Morgan too echoed Mehtab’s view.
“Of course, Salgaocar are going through a transitional phase ever since a change in their coaching department. But this phase doesn’t make them a weak team, nor drive us to believe that we’ll have it easy,” the Briton made it clear.
The hosts, though, will have few reasons to worry as they have been piling on the agony over their opponents on a consistent basis.
The team that thrashed Churchill and ONGC is expected to start and deliver as they have done so far; though the likes of Edeh Chidi, Uga Okpara, Ishfaq Ahmed and Harmanjot Khabra experienced stiffness and went through a cool-down session on Monday.