Pune, November 20: FC Pune City are still searching for their first win in the Hero Indian Super League and interim coach Pradyum Reddy believes the turnaround can happen against Jamshedpur FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Reddy hasn’t had the success that he would have liked from this team since taking over from Miguel Angel Portugal after three games. Draws against Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos earned them two points after seven matches and the onus will be on the players to get the better of Jamshedpur and save their season.
“On paper, it is a very good team, very similar to what we had last season but matches are not won on paper but won on grass. There are a lot of teams in similar situations,” said Reddy.
The hosts will also be boosted by the return of Brazilian striker Marcelinho and ISL’s highest goalscorer, Iain Hume, into the fold. Marcelinho served a one-match ban for a red card and Emiliano Alfaro’s loan to ATK has allowed the now fully fit Hume to join the squad.
“We missed quite a few players in the ATK game but we don’t have those issues anymore. So, looking forward to the match. For the first time this season we have all 25 players to pick from. So everyone is available now,” said Reddy.
While Pune are 14 points off the top of the table and can move off the bottom spot if they pick up a win, Cesar Ferrando’s Jamshedpur have no reason to be complacent with the team sitting fourth with 11 points after seven matches. The Men of Steel can move to second if they win on Wednesday.
“I think Pune are a good team and for me, they are a dangerous team because they want to get their first victory. They have a good squad. It is a big challenge for us,” said head coach Cesar Ferrando.
Jamshedpur’s expansive football has often allowed other teams chances to score and although Tiri and co. have stood firm at the back, this has held them to stalemates five times this season, most by a team in 2018-19 Hero ISL up until now.
Pune, on the other hand, have conceded the most number of goals out of the 10 teams in the league and the vulnerable backline will be up against the likes of Michael Soosairaj and Sergio Cidoncha who are in good goal-scoring form. The Indian forward earned words of praise from his coach, “Michael Soosairaj is a very good player. Since the pre-season in Segovia to now, he has improved a lot. He is doing well, he is working very hard.”
Star striker Tim Cahill will miss the game as he is away on international duty for his testimonial game while Gourav Mukhi will also sit out the fixture due to suspension.