The former England international revealed that some of his players are suffering from flu.

Kerala Blasters host Delhi Dynamos in an exciting ISL fixture on Saturday. Both sides will be looking to win this match. While the capital club endured a defeat at the hands of ATK in their recent game, the South Indian outfit had to settle for a draw against Mumbai City. A win will likely take Kerala to the top of the table, while the Lions will be eager to get back to winning ways.

Ahead of the game, Kerala Blasters’ head coach David James and Delhi Dynamos assistant coach Mridul Banerjee met with the media in Kochi. 

Coach’s Corner

David James (Kerala Blasters)

The KBFC gaffer praised Sandesh Jhingan’s leadership qualities

Apart from three players – Sandesh Jhingan, Holicharan Narzary and Anas Edathodika – the remainder of the players were with the club during the international break. When asked whether it was a blessing the Englishman revealed that a few of their players were affected with a virus and flu. 

The former Liverpool shot-stopper said, “It was actually good. I had time to stay with them. Unfortunately, few players – should be alright now – have been suffering from a virus and flu since last week or so. The good thing is we had two weeks rest and we are training hard to get things back right.” 

Delhi Dynamos played against ATK just three days ago and are set to take on Kerala on Saturday. Commenting on that James said, “That’s a worrying thing. We had similar fixtures last season, in January. There are a lot of fresh players they can use. and we have to make sure that the quality is there for 94 minutes.”

Sandesh Jhingan captained the Indian national team when they faced the People’s Republic of Cina in a recent international friendly. When asked about Jhingan’s leadership qualities he said, “It is interesting Stephen Constantine picked Sandesh Jhingan as the captain for the game. From day one, Sandesh has been a leader. He leads by example. I trust my players, I trust my captain.”

Blasters have a good record against the Dynamos. They won both of their games against Delhi last season. “They are a very interesting team. We have a good record against them. I think what I like about them is that they have gone with a very youthful squad.” James also said that the league’ transition from marquee players to young players is a good sign. 

Mridul Banerjee (Delhi Dynamos)

Banerjee stated that his side are working on the defensive issues

In both of their first two games Delhi Dynamos conceded late goals despite having defenders like Narayan Das, Pritam Kotal in their ranks. When asked if that was a factor to worry about the assistant coach said, “We played two days back. Our chief coach is trying to fix it, that is why I am here. We are trying to sort these issues. Our Delhi Dynamos should not concede any goals. We need time.”

Kerala Blasters have had a good start to their campaign this season. In light of this the coach was asked how strong Kerala were as opponents. The former East Bengal gaffer said, “They are a very good side. I know a few players who have played under me. They have done well so far.”

The Blasters’ defenders have been absolutely rock-solid at the back. When asked if it was only because they have not been tested by stronger sides Banerjee said, “They have very good defenders. Sandesh is there. Anas is there. Good foreigners are there.” 

There is no doubt that the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will be packed with the Manjappada faithful. The coach was asked whether it will be a factor and he said, “The supporters will come, they will support. But, we have to play. Players should not think about the supporters, they should play.”

Team News

Kerala Blasters FC

James confirmed that a couple of playes are suffering from flu and a virus. However, he did not reveal who will be missing the game. Nevertheless, KBFC will be happy to have Cyril Kali back, who impressed in the Toyota Yaris LaLiga World.

Delhi Dynamos

Assistant coach Mridul Banerjee said that the entire squad wis in Kochi.

Probable Lineups

Kerala Blasters

Dheeraj Singh, Mohamed Rakip, Sandesh Jhingan, Cyril Kali, Lalruatthara, Nikola Krcmarevic, Prasanth K, Slavisa Stojanovic, Courage Pekuson, Holicharan Narzary, Matej Poplatnik.

Delhi Dynamos

Francisco Dorronsoro, Pritam Kotal, Rana Gharami, Gianni Zuiverloon, Narayan Das, Marcos Tebar, Vinit Rai, Nandha Kumar Sekar, Rene Mihelic, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Andrija Kaluderovic.

Did You Know?

  • Kerala Blasters goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh has the best saves percentage in the league so far (85.71%).
  • Delhi Dynamos have conceded three goals so far and out of those two have been conceded in the last 15 minutes.
  • Kerala won only two matches at home last season, while Delhi won only one the same number away from home.

Broadcast

The match will take place tomorrow at 7:30 PM at the JLN Stadium in Kochi. On television, the match will be live on Star Sports. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.