Defending champion East Bengal will be looking to continue its good form when it takes on traditional rival Mohun Bagan in the season’s first Derby clash, which happens in a Calcutta Football League Premier Division ‘A’ on Sunday at the Salt Lake Stadium.
The Kolkata giants are locked on 19 points ahead of what could be a potential title decider.
East Bengal is behind the Marriners only on goals scored and a win for either side will pip them as the favourite heading into next week's final round fixtures.
EB, which commands the local supremacy for the past eight seasons, is strengthened by the addition of Costa Rican World Cupper Johnny Acosta, who officially signed for the club on Friday.
Acosta is expected to strengthen the Red and Golds' defence, which otherwise has been quite strong conceding just once in seven matches. Acosta will be joining the likes of Mehtab Singh and Kingshuk Debnath, who have been impressive thus far.
On the creative front, Syrian Mahmoud Al Amna commands the central position in the midfield and his performance will be pivotal to how the holder plots its attack. Senegalese midfielder Kassim Aidara will be joining forces with Amna and Kamalpreet Singh, who are the other figures in the midfield. The striking job remains with Joby Justin, who has been the most successful among the attackers scoring three so far.
Technical director Subhash Bhowmick will have to prove his merit in the high voltage clash while the team’s new Spanish Coach Alejandro Menendez will likely be seeing his side’s performance from the stands.
Bagan will be enjoying the fact that it has not lost to East Bengal in the last six Derby meetings since February 2017. This factor will keep the coach Shankarlal Chakraborty upbeat ahead of the encounter.
The Marriner's Cameroonian striker Aser Dipanda Dicka is in good form having scored seven while his partner upfront, Ugandan Henry Kisekka, will provide added firepower to the side.
Eze Kingsley, the Nigerian stopper-back, will be bolstering the side’s defence while the likes of Shilton D’Silva, Mehtab Hossain, who joined Bagan after a stint in the ISL and prolonged stay with its city rival, will be the key factors in the midfield battle.