United hoping to end on a high

2011-12-21 00:00

IT has been an up and down year for Maritzburg United, but coach Ian Palmer and his squad would like nothing more than to end it on a good note with victory over Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg tonight.

It won’t be easy, though.

After an impressive start to the season under former United boss Gordon Igesund, Swallows have already accumulated 25 league points and are sitting among the PSL big boys in fourth place on the log.

United’s start to the season was equally impressive and saw them go seven games undefeated as they climbed to third on the log, but the a disastrous run saw Palmer’s Team of Choice wait a further seven matches before their next win — a welcomed 3-1 victory over Jomo Cosmos on Saturday afternoon.

That match was important for reasons other than victory.

It has given Palmer breathing space following pressure to turn things around at the club and he is likely to see the New Year with a job, regardless of tonight’s result.

The Cosmos match was also the first time United scored a PSL goal in nearly seven hours of football.

“Obviously we would like a win tonight, but I don’t think a draw would be a bad result,” Palmer told The Witness ahead of his side’s trip to Soweto.

There is good and bad news for Palmer on the team selection front. While influential central midfielder Chillies Madondo is suspended after picking up a third yellow card against Cosmos, United welcome back the talented Kurt Lentjies, who himself was suspended for the Cosmos clash.

But it all depends on which Lentjies turns up for United.

The playmaker has been one of United’s most frustrating, inconsistent players this season, but has the ability to score and create goals.

If selected, Lentjies is likely to partner Michael Morton, who delivered his best performance of the season against Cosmos, in central midfield.

Morton has won over United fans with his tireless energy and high work rate this season and will need Lentjies to put in as much effort if United are to dominate the middle of the park.

“Michael has been fantastic and against Cosmos he and Chillies complemented each other fantastically well,” Palmer said. “He works hard for the club and knows what is expected of him.”

Tonight’s match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will be televised on SABC 1.

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