United urged to work hard and smart in away tie

2020-01-15 06:01
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MARITZBURG United plan to advance from “Friday Nights Lights” to a “Wednesday Wonder” rather than an odds-based “Wednesday Wobble” when they lock horns with formidable SuperSport United in the Absa Premiership in Pretoria tonight.

Having stretched their unbeaten run in Friday matches at Harry Gwala Stadium to a commendable 16 matches with last week’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over Golden Arrows, coach Eric Tinkler’s outfit are now bidding to bolster their healthy mid-table position.

Their high confidence is boosted by all their recent starters being available, with midfield workhorse Mxolisi Kunene now free from suspension for the Jacaranda City encounter this evening.

But their challenge at the council-owned Lucas Moripe Stadium is revealed in the head-to-head statistics against SuperSport.

The Team of Choice have won just three of their 25 league clashes with the Pretoria rich boys down the years, with eight ending in a draw.

In addition, Kaitano Tembo’s outside title-chasers, who are fronted by the dangerous Bradley Grobler, have the second-best home record in the league at present and they also shade Maritzburg in the five-match form guide.

Given this statistical situation, it is no surprise that Tinkler is calling on his skipper, Richard Ofori, and company to work as hard and smart as they can today against one of his former clubs.

He said: “The mood should be good coming off a win [against Arrows]. We just need to keep working hard.

“SuperSport are a good team, It’s going to be tough playing away from home. But we need to go there with confidence and determination.

“We have to stick to what we know and what we are good at.

Our work ethic has been very good, so you want to see that consistency.”

On the manpower front, he said: “We still have the same issues with Phumlani Ntshangase and Siyanda Xulu. They are not available [through injuries], but everybody else should be fit and ready.”

This will be United’s second match of six during January. “Like I said before, with the games coming thick and fast, the recovery period becomes more important than the training,” said Tinkler.

With SuperSport favoured to take the points for many reasons, Tinkler would probably not be dissatisfied in the event of a draw.

Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs will hope there’s a win to go with their 50th birthday celebrations surrounding tonight’s clash with no-nonsense Highlands Park at FNB Stadium.

TUESDAY’S RESULTS

Stellenbosch 1 - 2 Celtic

Sundowns 0 - 0 Wits

Polokwane 1 - 4 Pirates

FIXTURES

Saturday

Highlands v Stellenbosch — 3.30 pm

Baroka v Polokwane — 3.30 pm

Chippa v Maritzburg — 8.15 pm

Sunday

Celtic v Leopards — 3.30 pm

Chiefs v CT City — 3.30 pm

AmaZulu v SuperSport — 3.30 pm.

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