Johnson Returns To Squad; Striker Jugovic Set For Blues Debut As Roca Expects Team To Dig Deep
Ludhiana: Albert Roca said he was confident his Bengaluru FC side would dig deep and turn up with the goods as they begin a key month of football with a trip to Jalandhar to take on Minerva Punjab FC at the Guru Nanak Stadium, on Sunday. The Blues travel to Chennai next before hosting Mohun Bagan twice in a span of four days in the League and the AFC Cup and Roca felt that there was no better time than now to get what’s been a difficult season for Bengaluru, back on track.
“We can’t change results that have gone by. What we can do is work harder to make sure results ahead go our way. Minerva away from home will be a game that will require us to give everything if we are to change our fortunes. We play four games in nine days and it’s important that we start this phase well,” said Roca on the eve of the game.
Bringing some much-needed respite to a side that’s been hit with injury, a run of frustrating results and patches of poor form, is the return of John Johnson to the squad. The central defender, who has missed four games this season owing to a rib injury, has made the trip and could start alongside Juan Gonzalez.
Also grabbing focus will be new striker Marjan Jugovic who has put in a few training sessions with the team and it needs to be seen whether or not Roca chooses to start with the Serbian.
“It’s good to have John back in the squad as he’s always been a positive influence on the team and is one of the voices on the pitch and I’m certain he will have a key role to play tomorrow. We’re also glad to have Marjan who has showed more than just glimpses of his experience, at training. These inclusions give the squad the kind of strength we need at the moment,” said Roca.
The pitch conditions at the Guru Nanak Stadium haven’t been the best and Roca voiced his concern while admitting that his side would have to find a way around it. “I hope everyone realises that a pitch like this is bad for the show. They are the home team and will have a better understanding of the surface. So, it’s up to us to adapt as quickly as possible.”
Minerva put behind a shaky start to the League, steadied things and are now on an unbeaten run of six games. The side from Punjab managed to snatch a very lucky point when they came to the Fortress. A stray cross caught the foot of Sandesh Jhingan before looping over a wrong-footed Amrinder Singh in a game that Bengaluru dominated completely.
The game kicks off at 4.35 pm and will be telecast live on the Ten 2 network.