Hyderabad: The Hero Indian Super League juggernaut moves to Hyderabad, the newest destination for the league. Nobody would have wanted to return home as much as Hyderabad FC, who after losing two matches in a row, will hope for a change in fortunes when they face Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium here on Saturday.
The debutants haven’t had the best of starts in the league after suffering two consecutive defeats against ATK and Jamshedpur FC. With injuries and suspension piling up, coach Phil Brown has a task on his hands.
“We are working hard and are putting our bodies on the line. We have been travelling since the start and finally, after reaching Hyderabad, we unpacked our bags and relaxed. Let's see how these two home games go,” Brown said.
Key players like Bobo, Giles Barnes, Sahil Panwar and Rafael Gomez have all picked up knocks and it remains to be seen if they will be fit to make it to the match day squad. This is apart from the suspension Nestor Gordillo is currently serving.
On a positive note, star player Marcelinho is off the mark in his fourth season in the ISL and the Brazilian’s individual brilliance should come in handy for Brown.
“We have a team full of injuries and fortunately, Marcelino is not one of them. Some of our bigger players are sitting in the stands. When they are back Robin (Singh) will get the benefit of it. Once the treatment room clears out, you will see the difference,” said Brown.
Kerala Blasters are also without key personnel after injuries sidelined influential midfielder Mario Arques and central defender Sandesh Jhingan.
“Hyderabad have a lot of injuries. It is never easy when you don't have your strongest possible set up. We are not that worse, but I am also not playing with my strongest possible unit. All my foreign players are not fully fit. But you have to work,” said Kerala Blasters Head Coach Eelco Schattorie.
Blasters started the season off with a bang, having come from behind to defeat ATK in the opener before Mumbai City FC ambushed them in Kochi.
“We were unlucky to lose the last match. It was a painful loss. We should have taken at least a point. On the other hand, Hyderabad are travelling here after a defeat to Jamshedpur. So, both teams are hungry for three points. I hope it will be an awesome match,” said the Dutchman.
Kerala are heavily dependent on captain Bartholomew Ogbeche in attack and he will be confident of finding the net against a Hyderabad defence which has conceded eight goals in two matches.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)