When Churchill Brothers come calling at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai on 14th February, Tuesday, for a round nine I-League encounter, Chennai City FC will be hoping to build on their win over Mumbai FC on Saturday and continue climbing up the table.
Under their new coach, Chennai City began with a positive result against Mumbai but that was more down to the shoddy display put up by Santhosh Kashyap's side more than anything. Plus, the winner was solely down to Brazilian striker Charles de Souza's individual brilliance - a fact which was admitted readily by the coach V Soundararajan. The team opted to play with a 4-4-1-1 formation against Mumbai with Michael Regin starting as the shadow striker. Though his performance did not really stand out, Chennai City are expected to stick with the same lineup.
But they will need their midfield to improve their link up play with the forwards which was almost non-existent in the previous games. The defence looked solid on Saturday, albeit against a poor Mumbai side, and it will be interesting to see how Ravanan and Echezona fare against Anthony Wolfe and co.
On the other hand, Churchill Brothers have been stuck in a rut ever since their victory over Bengaluru FC. After that game, they managed a draw against Minerva Punjab before being defeated by Shillong Lajong and Aizawl FC. They sit at the bottom of the table with just five points from eight games. Along with a leaky defence, misfiring strikers have also been a concern for The Red Machines. Wolfe and Kromah were guilty of missing gilt-edged opportunities against Shillong Lajong which, if converted, could have turned the tie around for them.
Alfred Fernandes' side have been timid in their approach and have failed to take charge of games, as evidenced by their second half capitulation against Aizawl FC. The coach has conveyed his intention of trying a new combination up front and the fans will be left hoping that it works.
As far as the team news goes, Rowilson Rodrigues will miss this game as his wedding his scheduled on the day of the match while Fulganco Cardozo is still injured. For Chennai City, Karanjit Singh and Haroon Amiri are back in training but are not a 100% fit yet.
CHENNAI CITY FC
Injured: Karanjit Singh, Haroon Amiri
Doubtful: Abhra Mondal
Key Player: Charles de Souza
Injured: Fulganco Cardozo
Absent: Rowilson Rodrigues
Key Player: Anthony Wolfe