Five changes for Kerala Blasters FC tonight! Jessel Carneiro, Costa Nhamoinesu, Rohit Kumar, Lalthathanga Khawlhring and Jordan Murray have replaced Jeakson Singh, Yondrembem Denechandra, Juande, Rahul K. P. and Facundo Pereyra in Vicuna's lineup.
The last time Kerala Blasters played Jamshedpur FC, early this month, the Kochi side was at the happy end of a five-goal party. Things could be a little difficult for the Blasters when the two meet again in the Hero Indian Super League at Bambolim's GMC Stadium on Wednesday.
The Blasters will miss their head coach Kibu Vicuna and the in-form K.P. Rahul through suspensions while Australian striker Jordan Murray, who scored twice against Jamshedpur in their last game, is likely to miss the match with injury.
But assistant coach Ishfaq Ahmed feels that the situation is not a major worry.
“We know that we won't have some players and, unfortunately, Kibu is not available for this match but we have some players coming back from injuries,” said Ahmed. “We have a good depth in the squad and a positive attitude to go for three points.”
The Blasters will also be hoping that its experienced striker Gary Hooper regains his scoring touch.
Jamshedpur and the Blasters are level on points (14) and on the eighth and ninth rungs respectively after 13 matches each in the 11-team ladder but the good thing is, they are just four points away from the fourth spot and the playoffs. That's how close the league is this time so both the teams will be desperate for a victory and three points.
Though they have conceded 22 goals, the highest in the league this season, the Blasters are third in the list when it comes to scoring goals (17). Only the current league leader Mumbai City FC (19) and FC Goa (18) have scored more. That stat should give the Blasters confidence.
In contrast, Jamshedpur has scored 13 goals so far. But head coach Owen Coyle feels that his team is getting better in the final third.
“With Farukh Choudhary and Seiminlen Doungel coming in, they added great dimension to our forward play and it was evident in the Hyderabad game (the team's previous match which ended goalless),” said Coyle.
"That was a real positive. We saw that we were a more attack-minded team, going for the three points and wanted that momentum.”