Pune: In spite of back-to-back home wins, Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil sounded a note of caution ahead of their seventh round game against I-League football debutants Bharat FC at the Balewadi stadium on Friday.
"Yes, we are high on confidence after we won both of our last two games, but it?s going to be very difficult to defeat Bharat FC. They are a very strong team and in the previous match they played very well to win," said Jamil, referring to the Pune club, which despite having two players sent off, managed to score a 2-0 win over Goa's Salgaocar last Sunday.
The Mumbai team had revived their campaign with successive victories over Salgaocar and Royal Wahingdoh, Shillong.
Jamil noted that Bharat FC's strength is the defence.
"They (Bharat FC) have plenty of experience with some quality players and their defending is their strong point," he said.
Jamil wanted his players to be positive and was not averse to earning a draw.
"We have to adopt a positive approach and not bother too much about the result. A win is certainly good, but a point is also satisfying. To achieve that we must be alert from the start and try our best," he said.
There was a good chance that skipper Climax Lawrence could be included in the starting line-up, according to Jamil whose boys have remained unbeaten at home after having lost their previous three away ties.
With a tally of seven points from six games, Mumbai FC are currently in eighth position and a win would lift them to a higher place in the 11-team standings.
On the other hand, Bharat FC are second from last with 5 points from the same number of matches played.
Bharat FC are fresh from their first ever I-League win and will be hoping to replicate their performance from last Sunday when they shocked Salgaocar 2-0 with Subash Singh and Kris Bright scoring a goal each.
"We played well against Salgaocar. I was pleased by how we never panicked in the game. We scored off the two chances we got and then defended very well. Sunday's result has set us up nicely and we are looking forward to working hard against Mumbai FC and put another positive result under our belt," said head coach Stuart Watkiss.
The team will miss G Vignesh and Dharmaraj Ravanan after picking up a couple of yellow cards each.
"Both Vignesh and Ravanan are important players. However, I am confident that our bench has enough depth. The lads have been working hard, a few are on the fringes of the first team and these suspensions allow them to stake a claim for a regular place. The new players need to grab this chance and use it as a springboard," said Watkiss.
Defender Bikramjeet Singh, picked in the India under-23 probables, comes into the match-day squad along with winger Dipendu Dowary.
Bobby Hassell, who was substituted after suffering a knock on his left big toe against Salgaocar, has not recovered and is set to miss Friday's game.