Margao: Injury-hit Churchill Brothers will find the going tough in the absence of their three key players when they take on title aspirants East Bengal in a 17th round I-League clash at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.
Two defeats in three matches against Mohan Bagan and Salgaocar has suddenly put the hosts into off gear and a defeat tomorrow against East Bengal will make things more difficult for the Goan side.
Churchill`s shaky defense has been further weakened in the absence of Denzil Franco and Gouramangi Singh who are out due to double booking.
The midfield looks rudderless in the absence of L Ralte, who is out due to injury, and the team`s strikers have also been unable to convert half chances that have forced coach Manuel Gomes to make changes into the team.
Saran Singh and Naveen Sudhakaran will take the place of Denzil Franco and Gouramangi Singh in the defense, while Jerry Zirsanga is being tried out on the left of midfield in place of Ralte. Goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya will replace Felix D`Souza and coach Gomes is hoping that these combinations will be able to put the team together against East Bengal tomorrow.
Churchill are currently placed third with 29 points from 15 matches, four points behind East Bengal, who have played one match more than the hosts.
The visitors, who are three points behind table toppers Dempo, are looking to consolidate their position on the top and coach Trevor Morgan is aware of the challenge that they would be facing tomorrow.
"Churchill Brothers are a very capable side and tough to beat at home. It’s understandable they would come hard on us as they need a win badly to move on top. We need to be cautious but will play to win," Morgan said.
The coach is hoping that defender Nirmal Chhetri wins his battle against fitness but the bigger concern will be the team`s defensive organisation.
"Defensive organisation is an aspect we need to improve upon. When we lost to Salgaocar in Goa our defense was not up to the mark. Hopefully, Chhetri will be back and we will have to reorganize our defense against Churchill Brothers who have good forwards," Morgan said.