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East Bengal firm favourites

Calcutta: Kingfisher East Bengal will look to gather their wits after the chaos and mayhem of the abandoned Derby against Mohun Bagan in the previous round, when they meet another city rivals Prayag United SC in the 11th round I-League outing at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.

Ever since the controversial encounter East Bengal’s fortune has taken a dip as the team lost their first match of the season going down to Aryan Clubin the last Calcutta Football League encounter. East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan, under whom the team has maintained the unmatched record, urged the team to be positive and focus on the future tasks.

“We are a professional side and will focus on the fixtures ahead. Our objective is keep our focus intact and will aim for a win tomorrow,” Morgan said when he was asked about the team’s last two outings. East Bengal still remain the only unbeaten side in the I-League and Morgan said it just a matter of time before the team gets back the rhythm.

East Bengal have been pushed to the third position as the fate of the abandoned 10th round match is held in abeyance.

“We have no major fitness problems and will get the best selection in the match against Prayag United,” Morgan said, adding that midfielder Sanju Pradhan and goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal are not available as they are yet to recover.

Making an assessment of his opponent, Morgan said Prayag United is a good side and “have excellent players like Carlos Hernandez and Ranty Martins. But they are having some consistency problems of late.”

The East Bengal coach was well aware of the fact that United lost their previous three rounds and have picked up just four points in the last five rounds. East Bengal have won six and drawn three in the nine matches (the 10th round match abandoned) and are the most consistent performer in the league so far.

The question about his team’s consistency did not go well with United’s Durch coach Eelco Schattorie, who said “every team in the league, including East Bengal, are depended on the form of a set of players. Their contribution is key in a team’s performance in the League.”

What Schattorie said was about finding a balance in the side, which Morgan has been able to get for East Bengal being with the team for three successive seasons.