Mumbai FC welcome opponents Churchill Brothers Goa in what could be the most crucial fixture for the bottom placed I-League outfit so far. The international break was the revamp phase for the hosts as they recruitedOscar Bruzon in place of a struggling Santosh Kashyap as the new manager.
The Yellows and Blues also played several practice matches during the three week gap to improve their below par form.
As for visitors Churchill Brothers, the Konkan side arrives forthe fixture inhigh spirits following three wins in their last four matches. The team has improvedunder Derrick Pereira and the victories against the mighty Kolkata clubs speak for itself.
The two teams are the lone victims of relegation this season as new entrants Minerva Punjab and Chennai City arere safe from being demoted. Pune-basedDSK Shivajians are also exempt from relegationon account of a three-year insulation afforded to them when they joined the league.
Thus, the tie on Saturday evening is an important fixture for both teams, specially for the metropolis club, who are now in a do-or-die situation.
Talking about Mumbai, one can expect several changes in the squad which was usually thrown in by former boss Kashyap. Bruzon is likely to deploy Karan Sawhney as a central defensive midfielder and also push Afghan defender Djelaludin Sharityar in the midfield to team up with the Mumbai-born player. Hitesh Sharma, who was often neglected by Kashyap, could come back in the centre of the park and also fulfill the U-22 quota for the Mumbaikars. Mumbai may not have the services of all four foreign players as Brazilian attacker Alex Willian Silva had undergone a calf injury and is doubtful to be a part of Bruzon's starting XI. Reagan Singh could replace Thoi Singh on the flanks as the former Bengaluru FC medio isn't match fit.
As for Churchill Brothers, the Derrick Pereira-led side will see the deadly duo of Anthony Wolfe and Ansumana Kromah test the defensive forces of the team from the commercial capital. The Trinidad and Tobago striker has netted four goals this season whereas Kromah has stuck five goals in just nine games for the Red Machine. Wingers Brandon Fernandes and Chesterpoul Lyngodh have been in great form this season and would actively be involved in the build-up. The 55-year-old gaffer is likely to start witha 4-4-1-1 formation which will see Fulganco Cardozo come in place for Rowilson Rodrigues in the defense as the Majorda-born centre-backhas been sidelined following a leg injury.
This will, by far, be the most intense game for the Essel Group-owned side as dropping points will slowly open their door torelegation.
PREDICTED LINE UPS
Injured: Thoi Singh, Alex Willian Silva
Key Players: Djelaludin Sharityar
CHURCHILL BROTHERS GOA
Injured: Rowilson Rodrigues
Doubtful : None
Key Players:Ansumana Kromah