Upbeat East Bengal ready for Pune FC challenge

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2011, 19:30 PM IST

Kolkata: An upbeat East Bengal will aim for a hat-trick of victories when they take on a struggling Pune FC in a fifth round fixture of the I-League at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

With back-to-back wins after a shock defeat in the first round, the campaign of last year`s runners-up is back on track and coach Trevor James Morgan`s boys will look to capitalise on the new-found confidence.

The victories came at a time when they were struggling to come to terms with the absence of their inspirational playmaker Mehtab Hussain and defender Raju Gaikwad, the duo recovering from their respective injuries.

But a spectacular 4-1 win over Mumbai FC lifted their confidence as they registered a clinical 2-0 win over a spirited Shillong Lajong FC at home in the previous round.

A double yellow to Harmanjot Singh Khabra means that the East Bengal medio will have to sit out in what seems to be the only change to the line-up that will be led by Tolgay Ozbey and Baljit Singh Sahni.

Ozbey was lacklustre against Lajong but coach Morgan chose not to scrutinise his Australian forward.

The match will also give East Bengal a fine opportunity to improve their position in the table ahead of their November 20 high-voltage clash against Mohun Bagan who have two points more than their bitter-rivals.

PTI