In an I-League contest here on Saturday, TRAU FC runs into city rival NEROCA FC, the team against which it gathered its first win of the season last month.
Since that 2-1 win on January 8, TRAU FC hasn’t looked back. It comes into this second derby against NEROCA having won four of its last five matches. Thanks to this purple patch, it is now placed third in the points table.
NEROCA FC’s campaign, on the other hand, has gone the other way. The team has suffered three defeats in its last four games and is positioned ninth in the points table. Captain Marvin Devon Phillip, however, is looking ahead to a positive result from Saturday’s derby. “Yes, it’s derby time again and we are preparing to get it right this time. This game is massive for us not because it’s a derby but its massive because we are having a string of bad results at the moment. We are definitely working hard towards getting three points and try climbing the table,” Phillip, the veteran Trinidadian goalkeeper, said.
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NEROCA has brought in Subhash Singh from Real Kashmir and his play down the left flank, which impressed many last season, might just provide the boost for the struggling outfit. Along with Pritam Singh on the right, this might just open up more options to create chances. Zodingliana Ralte and Varun Thokchom have also impressed in patches but what will worry Gift Raikhan most will be his defence, which has let in 21 goals until now — the worst record in the league.
TRAU FC seems to have a more settled side at the moment with all positions well marked out. It has experience and solidity at the back with Patrick Uche and Sandeep Singh providing assurance ahead besides keeper Mithun Samanta, who has been good overall. Angousana, as distributor-in-chief, and Krishnananda Singh have been outstanding.
TRAU FC Technical Director L. Nandakumar Singh was upbeat ahead of the game. He said, “We are confident of a good show, especially after giving a good display of our brand of football away at Gokulam. That was a tough game and the entire squad is happy to have performed well. It is a derby so it is natural that both sides will go all out for a win.”
The match begins at 2pm.