Kerala Blasters will be desperately looking out for a win when it hosts Delhi Dynamos at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday night. The Blasters is currently seventh in the Indian Super League standings with 14 points from its 12 games and needs all three points to keep its hopes of making it to the top four places alive.
The appointment of David James as the head coach at the turn of the year, brought a fresh resurgence to the side. The former England goalkeeper oversaw two wins and a draw in his first three games in charge but after having suffered two consecutive defeats in its last two games against Jamshedpur FC and FC Goa, the pressure is back on the 'Yellow Army' and more so on the coach who replaced former Manchester United A team Dutch coach Rene Meulensteen.
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"Obviously, it's not a position we wanted to be in at the start of the season. We have been watching games and hoping there are wins for the teams below us so that it gives us a chance to catch up with teams above us on the table. But it's simple, we have got six games in hand, we plan to win all of them. But that still might not be enough," James said at the pre-match press conference.
To strengthen its chances, Kerala Blasters has also signed Icelandic striker Gudjon Baldvinsson to replace Dutch striker Mark Sifneos, who was released from the club earlier this week. "With the loss of Mark (Sifineos) to injury, Gudjon is someone who gives a different option going forward. He is an accomplished player in Iceland," he said.
The Blasters coach also hinted that the club may sign few more players before the January transfer window closes. "With the transfer window still open, there is a chance to bring in few more players to replace some of the injured players in the current team. The work is not quite finished," he added.
For Delhi Dynamos, which has been languishing at the bottom of the ISL points table, a place in the top four may be out of reach already but the side still have a lot to play for.
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"For us, there is not much chance of making it to the top four now," Delhi Dynamos head coach, Miguel Angel Portugal conceded at the pre-match pre-conference. But the Spanish tactician added that his side will want to win the remaining games to finish the season on a high.
And for the game against Kerala, there will be added determination in his side after having suffered a 3-1 loss to it at home in the first leg played earlier in the month. Talking about Kerala, he said, "There mentality has changed with the appointment of a new coach. It's an important game for both of us."