Team of Choice: ‘Full confidence’ in Palmer

2012-01-04 00:00

THE PSL is still on holiday and will be until February 15, but Maritzburg United coach Ian Palmer has been able to enjoy his festive season after being assured by the club’s management that he will be the man who attempts to guide the Team of Choice to a top eight finish.

Palmer had found himself under pressure after a poor run of PSL fixtures saw United go seven matches without victory. But a win at home against Jomo Cosmos and a draw at Moroka Swallows to end 2011 has put United back on something resembling the right track.

“We acknowledge that our club — its players and technical staff — is an emerging one,” chairperson Farouk Kadodia told The Witness.

“We have full confidence in Ian and will give him his space to ensure that we perform at our potential.”

Kadodia highlighted the 7-0 thrashing at the hands of SuperSport United in October as a turning point for Palmer, who had guided United through seven matches undefeated and a top three place on the log at that time.

“Ian is a young PSL manager and that result really took its toll emotionally and physically on him,” Kadodia said.

With the players returning for training from their extended Christmas break on Monday, a performance review meeting with Kadodia, Palmer and the club’s board has been penciled in for this weekend.

“The meeting will look at how Ian and the club have performed and to see where we can improve. But we can assure that Ian will definitely still be our coach,” the chairperson said.

Kadodia said the club will be active in the January transfer window. With United demonstrating a weakness in front of goal in the second quarter of the season, a striker has been listed at the summit of the shopping list while cover in the left midfield department is also a priority.

Only out-of-favour goalkeeper Tashrique Goldman will leave the club after a settlement on his contract was reached. Kadodia said that his two acquisitions are likely to be made up of one loan deal and one out-and-out purchase — both of current PSL players.

“It is too early at this stage to say who the players are, most teams only get back next week so we will start negotiations then,” he said.

United’s next two matches are away to Wits on February 15 and at home to Ajax Cape Town on February 19.

Kadodia has set a target of between 12 and 15 points for the first eight matches of the new year as a figure that will ensure that his side does not engage in an all too familiar relegation battle.

“My first instinct is that we won’t have any relegation concerns this season, but the log positioning is very close and it can all change with two bad results. Nobody wants to see a team that is continuously fighting relegation,” he said.

United are 11th on the PSL table and have amassed 19 points from 15 matches.

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