ISL 2019-20: Can new-entrant Hyderabad FC banish the Pune City blues?

Phil Brown's Hyderabad FC side was unbeaten during the pre-season and with a maiden ISL season ahead, the coach said his side is raring to go.

Head Coach Phil Brown and film star Daggubati Venkatesh at the unveiling of the Hyderabad FC team jersey.   -  K.V.S. Giri

Hyderabad FC will become the first top division football club to represent the city of the Nizams when it makes its Indian Super League debut this season. The club heads into its maiden season after preliminary camps in Chennai and Goa, where it played seven friendly matches. And to their credit, Phil Brown’s men were undefeated in all these games. But there’s a small catch, the team is yet to play at its home venue — the Gachibowli Stadium.

But Brown isn’t particularly perturbed by this. “This could work both ways. That’s exactly the reason why we want to do well in the first few away games. We would love to step into Gachibowli Stadium for our home-leg starting November 2 in a winning frame of mind,” he says.

Hyderabad has taken on board most of the players from the erstwhile FC Pune City, and also features established foreigners such as Marcelo Pereira and Marko Stankovic. It will be led by 23-year-old custodian Kamaljit Singh.

READ| ISL 2019-20: Full schedule, fixtures and where to watch

“We have players like internationals Rafael Lopez Gomez and Marcelo Leite Pereira who are no strangers to ISL, and who should combine well with Gurtej Singh and Robin Singh. We are determined to play the brand of football which should be entertaining and also help the team win matches,” said Brown.

With a potent attack that will be further boosted by Nestor Gordillo’s arrival, Hyderabad also has a steely defence anchored by full-back Adil Khan. The 31-year-old, who recently returned to the national team after seven years, will be supported by the likes of fellow-India international Nikhil Poojary, Gurtej Singh and former Sunderland centre-back Matthew Kilgallon.

While Brown enjoyed mixed fortunes with Pune City and guided the club to a seventh-place finish last season, he will look for greener pastures with Hyderabad FC. And his mission begins on October 25 when Hyderabad FC begins its ISL journey in an away game against ATK.

We are determined to play the brand of football which should be entertaining and also help the team win matches.

— Coach Phil Brown

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