Mohali: Brimming with confidence after their superb victory in the inaugural match of the season, Kalinga Lancers would be hoping to carry on their winning streak when they take on hosts Jaypee Punjab Warriors in an away fixture of the 2015 Hero Hockey India League (HIL), here on Sunday.
Under new coach Jude Felix, the Lancers, who finished at the bottom of the table in its debut season last year, looked far more organised and threatening. The Lancers dished out a fine show in the opening match of the third edition of HIL to beat the Ranchi outfit 6-3 at their home turf in Bhubaneswar.
While the Lancers would be in a upbeat mood after the win over Rays, it won't be easy for the visitors against the Punjab Warriors, who boasts of strong team led by inspirational Australian Jamie Dwyer.
The Punjab side has world's best goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann in its ranks, who stood tall like a rock to secure a 3-3 draw for his side against Dabang Mumbai in their first game of the season.
With Stockmann guarding the goal, Punjab Warriors would be looking to create maximum scoring opportunities and increase their goal conversion rate to register their first win in the league.
And Lancers coach Felix too admitted that it won't be a cakewalk against Punjab Warriors tomorrow. "According to me Jaypee Punjab Warriors is the strongest team in the league. While they have not won the league till now, but we still can't take away the fact that they have some of the best players in their squad," he said.
"So, we have to give our best and each member of the team will have to come forward and contribute. Gurjinder Singh, Lucas Villa, Ryan Archibald, Vickram Kanth - all have to stand up and contribute and ensure we end the match tomorrow on a winning note," Felix said.
Punjab Warriors also are in no mood to concede an inch to their opponents. "We must ensure that we have control over their players. We have to adjust and respond better against the opposition and that is the challenge for our team. The objective from here is to improve ourselves. Tomorrow's match is crucial as they already have a win in their kitty, but we are confident that we will turn the game in our favor," Punjab Warriors coach Barry Dancer said.
Home team skipper Dwyer added: "We have to concentrate every second and we can't relax at all. This cost us 3 points in the last match yesterday. Sandeep (Singh) is flicking good along with Christopher."