Dempo`s chance to return to winning ways vs injury-hit United
Kolkata: Plagued with injuries, United SC may give former champions Dempo the best chance to return to winning ways in a round 14 I-League fixture here on Tuesday.
Veteran Sangram Mukherjee has been nursing an injury for a few weeks now and his deputy Ishan Debnath broke the shinbone in their 0-4 rout to Mohun Bagan and they would be forced to start with rookie Abhijit Das under the bar.
There`s more in the injury list with Liberian Eric Brown, who scored twice against Dempo last month, and defender Anupam Sarkar are also likely to miss out. Both the teams met last month in the first leg with the Kolkata club winning 2-1 but this time around, Dempo will certainly fancy their chances to come out from a four-match win-less streak.
United SC star striker Ranti Martins too has been struggling to get goals, netting only four from 12 appearances as they would hope that the Nigerian return to form against his former club.
The return of India midfielder Lalkamal Bhowmick in the second-half against Mohun Bagan would be the only positive sign for United SC who have slipped from the title race after their loss to Mohun Bagan in the previous round.
Five-time champions Dempo, lying low in 11th place in the 13-team table, have a plenty of under-23 players in their squad and experienced India international Clifford Miranda, who has scored three of the club`s 11 goals, feels that their team will improve with time.
"We have a lot of young players, so we have to be patient and keep faith in them. I don?t think we have been playing that badly, but we need to convert our chances," the 31-year-old said.
Dempo will take heart from the fact they have picked four points from their previous two visits to Kolkata and lead the overall I-League head-to-head record with five wins, three draws and three defeats.