Kolkata: With speculation rife about their coach Armando Colaco's future at the club, East Bengal will take on winless debutants Bharat FC in the I-League football at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan here on Sunday.
Slipped to fourth place after their shock 1-3 loss to Salgaocar last Saturday, East Bengal will play two I-League matches in three days with the high voltage clash against arch rivals Mohun Bagan slated for Tuesday. The hosts will be keen to get back the momentum as the results of the two matches will not only have a huge bearing on Colaco's stint at the red-and-golds but will be crucial before they kick off their AFC Cup campaign versus Johor Darul Ta'Zim in Johor Baru on February 24.
Colaco also has health concerns with high blood sugar level as his possible replacements in Dutchman Eelco Schattorie and Englishman Trevor Morgan are doing rounds.
In such a scenario, it will be interesting to see how the team backs up and turn it around against the inexperienced Pune outfit who are yet to win, having already lost two matches in their debut season. East Bengal had complained of their lack of creativity in the midfield which couldnot provide perfect through-ball for the strikers but it may well change, come Sunday.
Bharat FC had been at their wasteful best going down 0-1 in Bengaluru in what was their first away game. The scoreline may suggest that they did not concede more than once against the defending champions but their finishing is something that needs a lot to be desired for the coach Stuart Watkiss. The team will also have high hopes from their new signing Syed Rahim Nabi an experienced campaigner with the know of things of the conditions as his versatility may come handy even as the former Mumbai FC captain is struggling for form.
Romuald Boco looked impressive against Bengaluru FC in an advanced attacking position as he will also play a crucial role as they have just scored once from three matches.