PSL: United going into Sundowns clash at 100%, says Hendricks

2011-11-16 00:00

MARITZBURG United resume their bid for a PSL top eight finish away to Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria on Sunday in what is the Team of Choice’s first competitive match since their 0-0 draw to Kaizer Chiefs in Port Elizabeth on November 1.

United were impressive defensively that day, largely due to a man-of-the-match performance from centre back Byrone Hendricks, who is expecting a similar challenge against Sundowns this weekend.

“It is definitely going to be a tough game because they are a good side, but we just have to be patient in our build-up to the match and make sure we go into it at 100%,” said Hendricks before yesterday’s training session at Harry Gwala stadium. “If we give all of our commitment then maybe we can grind out a result.”

Hendricks has been partnered by Senegalese Mor Diouf in every PSL match so far this season, and the United No. 13 said it is a partnership that is getting stronger with every match.

“He [Diouf] doesn’t talk much on the field so I have become the leader during matches,” explained Hendricks.

“But we have grown to understand each other and we know each other’s games very well.”

Hendricks also pointed to another of his defensive partners, Rheece Evans, as a big player for United this season. A natural midfielder, Evans has been used on both the left and right flanks of defence by coach Ian Palmer this season.

“Rheece has taken his opportunity really well,” said Hendricks. “He is big and strong and he has been an important player for us.”

Hendricks is relishing the prospect of playing against Bafana Bafana striker Katlego Mphela on Sunday.

“He is one of their biggest threats, but I have done well against him when I’ve played him in the past,” said Hendricks.

“It will be a test, but I don’t feel like I am under pressure — I know my abilities and it’s just a matter of going out there and doing what I know I can.”

United do not have any major injury concerns ahead of the match. Striker Diyo Sibisi’s right ankle, now in a moon boot, has given him recurring problems throughout the season. But he is ineligible for Sunday’s match anyway, after reaching his yellow card limit.

“With Diyo suspended we thought now would be the time to get his ankle sorted out,” United assistant coach Urban de Kock told The Witness yesterday. “We are expecting him to be fit for the Free State Stars match [November 30].”

Midfielder Calvin Sosibo also sat out yesterday’s training session with a hamstring strain, though he is expected to recover in time to make the trip to Pretoria.

• sport@witness.co.za

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