Pune eye win v Jamshedpur to climb to top of ISL
Pune: FC Pune City would look to climb to the top of the table with a win when they take on Jamshedpur FC in a Hero Indian Super League match, here on Wednesday.
The Stallions come into this game on the back of a 3-0 win over defending champions ATK and have a chance to leapfrog to the top should they win at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
FC Pune have 19 points from 11 games and are currently placed third behind Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC.
The tie will also the return of head coach Ranko Popovic to the touchline after serving a four-match ban.
"It was so much worse," said Popovic expressing his disappointment on missing the games.
"The coach has to be close to the field. But these kinds of things happen, and some things happen to bring something better."
Addressing the media on the eve of the tie, Popovic would have hoped for a fit set-up in his return match but that is not the case as a handful of Pune players are carrying a few niggles. But the Serbian assured that he will not resort to rotating the squad unless it's necessary.
"If we make some rotation, we have some personal problems," Popovic said.
"I think the guys are prepared to play in continuity. I'm not for rotation unless it is necessary. We will see until tomorrow. Some players have small problems. Whoever will be in better shape will play," he added.
However, he the head coach confirmed that Ashique Kuruniyan will miss tomorrow's tie due to an injury.
"Aashique will not be ready for tomorrow. We must be careful because this is the third time in this short season that he is out, and this boy has some problem with his muscle," said Popovic.
Against a disciplined unit in Jamshedpur, Pune will have to bring their best to the table if they are to get anything out of the tie.
And Popovic sounded optimistic of his side's chances. "Jamshedpur play the same style every game," he stated.
"The only thing that has changed is that they score the goals. Very compact, very disciplined team. It's very difficult to play against them. What we will do is we will try to take the lead against them, to bring them in our return."
Their previous tie also saw Pune's winter signings Marko Stankovic and Manuel Jesus make their Hero ISL debut. And the head coach was satisfied with what he saw against ATK.