‘Consistency is key’

2013-11-02 00:00

MARITZBURG United have an opportunity tomorrow to claim back-to-back league wins when they take on Bloemfontein Celtic at the Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium.

The Team of Choice should fancy their chances of claiming a second consecutive win as Phunya Sele Sele have registered just one win this season, and have not won a single game at home.

The history books show that Celtic last beat United in the 2010/11 season. And, since 2008, Celtic have beaten United twice, with the Team of Choice coming out on top four times.

United leave for the Free State today, and coach Clinton Larsen said the 2-0 win over KZN rivals AmaZulu on Sunday lifted their spirits.

“We’ve had a really good week. We’re in a buoyant mood. A win always lifts the spirits in camp,” Larsen told Weekend Witness yesterday.

Larsen will be happy to have his captain Michael Morton back after the midfielder missed the win over Usuthu as he was serving a one-match suspension.

“Michael’s tenacity and fighting spirit is an asset to the team,” Larsen said about his skipper.

“With players coming back, there is very strong competition for places within the team,” he said.

Attacking midfielder Ashley Hartog and fullback Peter Petersen were available after recovering from injuries, and the club was still without Heinrich Isaacks, Ruben Cloete, Nhlanhla Vilakazi, Robyn Johannes and David Booysen.

Another absentee from the side that travel to Bloemfontein will be Bandile Shandu. The 18-year-old Maritzburg College pupil began his Matric exams on Monday, and Larsen said he wouldn’t be available until he has completed writing.

“We don’t want to distract him from his exams at the moment. Education is important, and we will try to support him in any way,” said the coach.

Shandu came on for the final 23 minutes against AmaZulu, and Larsen predicted after the game that the youngster has a bright future in the game ahead of him.

Rheece Evans, who is suffering with a stomach problem, will undergo a late fitness to determine if he is able to play, said Larsen.

A win against Ernst Middendorp’s undefeated Celtic could temporarily lift United to fourth on the log with a bulk of the fixtures taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

Skipper Morton told Weekend Witness that the club now had to put up good results and build some consistency with quarter of the season gone.

“You lose one game and they say you’re not on form, and you win one and you’re on form. For us it’s about putting results together by playing consistently.”

Morton knows that although he is the captain, his place in the team is not guaranteed.

“I’m available for selection, but whether I play is up to the coach,” he said, adding that the mood in the camp was upbeat.

Tomorrow’s game will kick off at 3.30 pm.

Possible line-up: Shu-Aib Walters, Thabang Matuka, Mohammed Awal, Mario Booysen, Rheece Evans, Frank Sarfo-Gyamfi, Dillon Sheppard, Michael Morton, Thokozani Sekotlong, Mohammed Yakubu.

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