United focus on 3 points

2011-09-28 00:00

AFTER a disappointing draw away at Black Leopards on Saturday, Maritzburg United have the chance to return to winning ways when they host Platinum Stars at the Harry Gwala Stadium in a PSL encounter tonight.

There was a sense of intensity at United’s training session yesterday, and head coach Ian Palmer said that the players appeared to be more up for tonight’s game than they were for the Leopards encounter.

“It is always nice for the guys to come back home and play in front of their own supporters,” said Palmer. “They have looked sharp at training and have shown a real hunger to want to win this game.”

The coach, who has not lost a League encounter with United for nine matches now, identified Stars’ defence of set pieces as a possible area where his side could cause problems.

“They aren’t the best at defending set plays so we have been working on exploiting that,” said Palmer, adding that he would like to see centre-backs Mor Diouf and Byrone Hendricks getting forward for set pieces.

United entered the midweek round of fixtures occupying sixth position on the log and will take heart from the fact that they beat Stars 1-0 at Harry Gwala last season — a Diyo Sibisi goal the difference.

Sibisi has scored three league goals already this season, but has looked out of sorts in United’s last two matches.

Striker Fadlu Davids has returned from a cheek fracture and is available for selection this evening, should Palmer decide to start the fixture with two outright strikers.

He might be tempted to do so, especially considering that it was finishing that let his side down against Leopards on Saturday.

Midfielder Kurt Lentjies was the major culprit that day, missing two clear-cut chances, but he was looking lively in yesterday’s training session and appears to not have been affected by Saturday’s poor performance.

Stars have lost all three of their away games this season and lie 11th on the log with seven points from six matches. A win tonight would tie them with United on points, and Palmer expects the Rustenburg side to come out looking to do just that.

“I don’t think they will come here looking for anything less than the three points,” said Palmer. “I know Owen [da Gama], and that is not the style that he likes to follow.”

Palmer further emphasised the importance of a victory for his side tonight.

“We have some tough away games coming up so a win tonight is very important for us,” he said. “… it would mean that we are starting to consolidate our position in the top half of the table.”

The match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will not be televised.

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