Kolkata: Relegation-threatened Mohammedan Sporting and struggling East Bengal take on each other in a re-arranged fixture of the I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium here tomorrow.
Despite being two historical clubs, there have been only two meetings in the I-League era largely due to Mohammedan`s absence from the top flight competition and both encounters ended all square. The two sides played out a draw earlier in the season also but that was a local league clash.
Due to their games in hand, East Bengal still have a realistic chance of challenging for the title but they are on a five-match winless streak in all competitions and have picked up just two points from their three fixtures after the I-League break.
Their last I-League game ended in a disappointing 1-1 stalemate against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan. Coach Armando Colaco has already conceded that winning the title will be difficult now.
The red-and-gold brigade have already dropped 22 points after 14 matches and have their work cut out against a Mohammedan side that has drawn all three I-League Kolkata derbies this campaign.
But Mohammedan Sporting`s I-League status is not safe at all and weekend`s results saw them return to the bottom two. This is their game in hand over a couple of immediate rivals and thus Sanjoy Sen`s side can`t afford to drop points
The black and whites could only manage a goalless draw with Mohun Bagan last Saturday and that result means Mohammedan have picked up just four points from their last five I-League outings.
"I think 26 points will be enough. However we are not worried about relegation at all," Sen, however, said.
Sen would be hoping for the same confidence from his players but fatigue could be a factor as this will be their second game in three days.
East Bengal will be looking to make the most of their freshness but this promises to be another closely-fought local derby with both sides desperate for three points.