In a tight corner, NEROCA FC would look to get itself out of the relegation zone when they take on fourth-placed RoundGlass Punjab FC in an I-League match in Kalyani on Monday. (More Football News)
NEROCA's hopes of securing a top-six finish ended after their narrow defeat to Churchill Brothers. The Gift Raikhan-coached side is currently in 10th place with eight points from nine games.
With Sudeva and Indian Arrows immune from relegation, NEROCA needs to refocus their priorities to avoid going down by getting as many points as they can in the remaining games.
And a positive result against Punjab will give them the necessary boost to survive in their endeavour.
Speaking at the virtual pre-match press conference, NEROCA head coach Raikhan said, "Each of the remaining games is very important for us. I am very happy to see major development in the players.
"We are a young and inexperienced side. There are a lot of positives in the last two games against (real) Kashmir and Churchill. We tried our level best, but the results were not in our favour.
"There were small mistakes here and there, but it is part and parcel of the game. We are working hard trying not to repeat them," he said.
"Everybody knows RoundGlass Punjab are a contender for the title. They have young Indian players, and good foreigners, who already have played in India, and have experience of playing in the Hero I-League. It will be a tough match, but I assure you we will give our best in the game."
Punjab, on the other hand, will try to close the gap at the top with a win over NEROCA.
Punjab FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Kashmir in their last match and fell down to fourth place with 15 points from nine matches.
With Churchill clashing against Gokulam Kerala, both of whom sit above them, Curtis Fleming's side has a good opportunity to cut the gap between with a victory over a struggling NEROCA FC.
"It was hard during this long break for us, but the operation staff looked after us, especially the different food that we have had. I don't see this period as rest, but more like recovery. We trained every day during this break to keep ourselves sharp, focussed on the next game and the players are raring to get back on the field," Fleming said.
"Like every game in the Hero I-League, playing NEROCA is going to be very tough. They have got many attacking players, a really good philosophy. I think they will always be asking us questions. Every game they have been involved in, it has been 50-50. It comes down to that little bit of focus and quality."
Match and telecast details:
Match: NEROCA vs RoundGlass Punjab
Date: March 1 (Monday), 2021
Time: 7:00 PM IST
Venue: Kalyani, West Bengal
TV Channel: 1Sports
Live Streaming: 1Sports Facebook
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