Calcutta/Shillong: Kingfisher East Bengal, current leaders in the I-League, will be facing an uphill task when they face Lajong FC at the Jawaharlal Neh-ru Stadium, here, on Saturday.
Lajong have proved to be a hurdle for the Calcutta clubs thus far in the season, defeating McDowell Mohun Bagan, Prayag United SC and Pailan Arrows.
Last season, East Bengal have also been unable to get past Lajong FC. And Trevor James Morgan’s side will have to get their act right on Saturday if they are to remain unbeaten in the I-League and consolidate their lead.
On match-eve, East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan said his side needs to adapt to the conditions as quickly as possible.
“Lajong are a difficult te-am, and on top of it the journ-ey to reach Shillong, is more challenging. The conditions are different. The game will be a big challenge for us and we need to adapt to the conditions quickly," Morgan said.
East Bengal lead Dempo by only a point. Morgan said they will have to win the match at any cost.
“We are aware of the importance of the match and we will go all out to pocket full points,” said Morgan.
“To remain at the top of the table, we have to win at any cost. We lead Dempo SC by a point at the moment,” he added.
“We have some injury concerns as our players picked up some niggles in the last match against Salgaocar. But I feel they would recover in time for the match.”
Lajong coach Desmond Bulpin, on the other hand, said he was confident of getting a good result and hoped that the home supporters will continue to stand behind the team. “It will be a competitive game. But, we always go for a win and do not believe in playing for draws," he said.
The home side will, however, miss midfielder Boithang Haokip for the match due to injury.
In another match at the Salt Lake Stadium, Pailan Arrows will look to return to winning ways when they face ONGC.
Arrows' coach Arthur Papas insists they will have to make best use of the situation. “We are looking to regain the rhythm after our loss in the last match. Tomorrow we play at home and it's an advantage.”