United’s Lentjies out of Wits clash

2011-08-11 00:00

MARITZBURG United have been dealt a harsh blow ahead of their PSL opener against Bidvest Wits on Sunday with the news that enterprising midfielder Kurt Lentjies will be out of action for two weeks with a toe injury.

Lentjies, who was expected to start the match, picked up the knock at Tuesday’s afternoon training session at the team’s Ohrtmann Road ground.

“It is very unfortunate but these things happen in football,” said coach Ian Palmer at United’s first official press conference of the new season yesterday.

“We have the depth in players to ensure that we can fill Kurt’s position over the next couple of weeks.”

Palmer said he expects Sunday’s game to be a challenge and that his side believes they can come away from the fixture with all three points.

“It will be difficult and they [Wits] are a good side who start the league well every year.

“But this is our home game and they are the games we must win if we are to achieve our goal and finish in the top eight this season,” said Palmer.

The sides played to a 1-1 draw in last season’s corresponding fixture, with United striker Diyo Sibisi rescuing a point for the Team of Choice in stoppage time after Ryan Chapman had given the visitors the lead in the first half.

Sibisi is expected to start on Sunday after recovering from a motor vehicle accident earlier in the week.

Club captain Fadlu Davids is Palmer’s other striking option, but with United likely to set up with two defensive midfielders and one natural finisher, Davids could find himself on the bench.

Davids said he has noticed a change in the squad set-up this season compared to that of recent years.

“The main difference this season is that we have depth,” the 30-year-old striker said.

Club chairperson Farouk Kadodia used yesterday’s press conference to respond to the fact that United will be playing three home games at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

United were made an offer from officials at the Port Elizabeth stadium to play their home matches against Kaizer Chiefs (November 1), Bloemfontein Celtic (March 14) and Mamelodi Sundowns (April 21) at the venue.

“It makes my heart sore, but the decision will economically benefit the club,” said the chairperson.

Kadodia shares Palmer’s ambitions in striving for a top-eight finish this season.

Sunday’s match kicks off at 3 pm.

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