Give Ian Palmer a break — Morton

2011-12-15 00:00

WITH Maritzburg United coach Ian Palmer under severe pressure to start delivering results, Saturday’s PSL clash with bottom-of-the-log Jomo Cosmos at the Harry Gwala stadium is crucial.

Failure to win that match is likely to result in a stressful festive season for Palmer.

Local media sugges­ted last week that he would be fired before Christmas, and while the club have since dismissed these suggestions as rumours, anything but victory on Saturday will not do Palmer’s hopes of staying on in the New Year any good.

One player who is desperate for Palmer to stay is central midfielder Michael Morton, who joined the club from Orlando Pirates at the start of the season.

Morton had worked closely with Palmer during the coach’s time as assistant manager of the Soweto club.

“Ian being here was one of the main reasons that I came to Maritzburg,” he told The Witness yesterday.

“He is a good manager and he makes you look forward to training when you wake up in the morning, which is very important.”

Morton said the team would be treating Saturday’s match as a cup final.

“Cosmos is bottom of the table and it is crucial that we get the win, not only for Ian, but for the team.”

Palmer has not won a PSL fixture in six attempts and has seen his side go more than four full matches without scoring a goal, but Morton said this should not reflect poorly on the coach.

“At some stage we as players have to start taking responsibility for our poor run of form. There is only so much the coach can do,” said Morton, who spent last season on loan at Wits.

“He has had success in the past so we know he’s a good coach.”

Striker Diyo Sibisi has been training all week, but a decision on whether he is fit enough to take part on Saturday is yet to be made.

Palmer is likely to take that gamble, though, as United will be desperate to have their leading scorer this season back on the pitch.

Morton suggested that victory, however it is achieved, must be the priority. “I think we just need to win, even if we win ugly,” he said. “We all need to go out there and give it a massive effort.”

It may be do or die for Palmer and United, but the last two months will have shown everybody at the club how quickly things can change.

“If we win our next two games then we’re back in the top eight,” said Morton. “It’s on a knife edge.”

Saturday’s match kicks off at 3.30 pm and will be televised on SABC 1.

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