Cape Town - Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler has admitted he is wary of Baroka FC ahead of their Absa Premiership clash at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Tinkler's side are looking to finish in the top eight this season and the former Bafana midfielder has called on his team to focus on their upcoming matches while urging them not to underestimate Sunday's opponents.
"There are no easy matches especially the teams that are fighting for their lives in the bottom in the league and you know Baroka have shown they are a good team," Tinkler told the media.
"They have started the season very, very well and I thought they were well structured when we played them here. It was very, very difficult to get the result against them.
"I think it’s going to be the same and the only difference is they’ll be a lot hungrier than when we played them in the first round.
"So, we have to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for what’s going to be a tough match but we've got to go there looking to play positive football and look to play without fear and try to have that psychological edge which we have over them (and it) can work in our favour."
The 49-year-old was also relieved to have the defender Siyanda Xulu and midfielder Phumlani Ntshangase back in the squad, although he wasn't sure if either will be ready for action this weekend.
"Siyanda Xulu came through for us without any issues as we played a friendly and that’s good for us, we are just waiting for the doctor to give us an all clear," he added.
"That’s the same as Phumlani, he also played 45 minutes now. (We) have a lot more options in terms of a defensive midfielder and a defender where we were a little bit thin.
"That bodes well for the upcoming games. We have Cape Town City which is also sitting down there – another tough game."
Tinkler's side are currently in sixth position on the table and with 12 matches left in the current campaign, he reiterated the importance of focusing on each match in order to reach their target for the season.
"It's very important to remain fully focused because we have set ourselves targets for the month of January and we want to achieve those objectives," he continued.
"There are still two very important matches and if we can get positive results in both of those matches then obviously, we will be in a positive position in terms of the league.
"The confidence, the motivation and everything in training, as well as the mood, becomes very different and you start playing with more freedom and less pressure. It becomes important for us to ensure we collect what we can from these two matches and reach those targets."
- TeamTalk Media