Kolkata [India], January 30 (ANI): East Bengal will be hoping not to further slip away from the I-League title race when they host Minerva Punjab FC at the Vidyasagar Krirangan (Barasat Stadium) on Tuesday.
The Red and Golds, who had their eight-game unbeaten streak ended at the most recent edition of the Kolkata derby against Mohun Bagan a fortnight ago, will be looking to get back to winning ways.
There will be no better opportunity than to steal points off leaders Minerva Punjab, who sit pretty at the summit with 25 points having played one match fewer. East Bengal trail them by six points, having played a game more in the third spot.
Head coach Khalid Jamil already termed the encounter as his sides toughest of the season so far.
"This is the toughest match. It won't be easy; they are on top they and are doing a good job. Everyone should give 100 per cent tomorrow", he said on the eve of the game.
"They have good players and a good coach. Their players are hungry for success. They attack all out. Everyone in their team is a threat to us. The defenders are good and solid and they possess a good attack. There is no one specific so we have to try hard tomorrow. Everyone knows how important this game is", he added.
New signing Ansumana Kromah, who incidentally joined from arch-rivals Mohun Bagan is in line to make his debut in attack alongside Dudu Omagbemi, who has just played a solitary game since his arrival this season so far.
In a major blow to East Bengal, Mahmoud Al Amna has been ruled out of the game and much of the onus will be on Japanese playmaker Katsumi Yusa to make a supply chain for the forwards.
Meanwhile, Khogen Singh and his side will be hoping to secure a perfect fifth victim on the road from as many games. On a run of four away draws, with three of them clean sheets, the momentum will definitely be on the Warriors' side.
"We are confident. We are in good form. We don't have any pressure. Not worried about the (artificial) turf (in Barasat). We are ready to play anywhere", said Singh.
He added, "Kingfisher East Bengal are under pressure at the moment so perfect time to play against them. They are a big team and we know (they are under pressure)." (ANI)