Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Portmore aiming to continue upward climb

Published:Sunday | January 19, 2020 | 1:12 AMNodley Wright - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Dunbeholden’s Nickoy Christian (left) and Thorn Simpson of UWI FC  battle for possession during last Sunday’s Red Stripe Premier League match at the UWI Bowl. The game ended 0-0.
Dunbeholden’s Nickoy Christian (left) and Thorn Simpson of UWI FC battle for possession during last Sunday’s Red Stripe Premier League match at the UWI Bowl. The game ended 0-0.

Defending champions Portmore United had a much-needed bounce last week with a win over Arnett Gardens, and they will be looking to continue their upward climb this week when they play away to the inconsistent Molynes United.

The fifth-place team will be engaged in one of the five games on today when they journey to Constant Spring to take on the promoted team, who, last week, slumped to a surprising 4-0 loss to Cavalier. With just 11 regular season games remaining and with them seven points off the lead and comfortably in the top six, coach Ricardo Gardner believes things are set up nicely despite the loss of the prolific Cory Burke.

“Since Cory joined us, he has been excellent. His professionalism and willingness to work hard to get back to where he wanted to be was admirable. It was really an example for all the players in the club, and that was a major plus along with the goals he provided, of course,” Gardner told The Sunday Gleaner.

Fate and the transfer window have been kind to the defending champions as national representatives Ricardo Morris and Chavany Willis have rejoined the club at the same time Burke was heading out.

“We have had back Morris and Willis, and, hopefully, they will step up and fill the gap left by Burke. We got goals from them last week, and we hope they will continue on that path as well as provide leadership and experience,” Gardner added.

Based on training heading into this game, the Jamaica World Cup veteran and Bolton Wanderers standout is optimistic.

“We had a very good week in preparation and our plan is to go out there and execute.

“This game is very important, and we know what to expect from Molynes United. It will not be easy,” the former Jamaica captain said.

Molynes’ Calvert Fitzgerald is hoping for a complete turnaround from their last result.

“We put in some good training heading into the Cavalier game after the Arnett match, which ended 2-2 at Arnett Gardens, and we were very positive going in. They just did not turn up.

“For this game, we put in some good work. They looked good, trained good, the competitiveness is up, and we will see what tomorrow brings,” stated Fitzgerald, who took over from Lijyasu Simms.

HODGES TO LEAD

To improve the fortunes of his 10th-place team, Fitzgerald conceded that he would be placing much responsibility on the shoulders of the seasoned campaigner Devon Hodges.

“Hodges has been asked to lead the team. I have put that burden on his shoulders, and I expect him to respond well to the challenge. He should get good support from Anthony Greenland, who is rounding into form; Fakibi Farquharson, who has been looking good as well; and Nicholas Nelson, who is settling down and getting back into competitive shape.

“The players are training well. We have a 90 per cent attendance, and they are putting in the work, and they have ambitions of staying in the league. I am confident that if they turn up in the right frame of mind, they will be very competitive,” Fitzgerald said.

Today’s games

n 3 p.m.: Dunbeholden FC vs Cavalier FC – Royal Lakes Complex

n 3 p.m.: Molynes United vs Portmore United – Constant Spring Stadium

n 3 p.m.: Tivoli Gardens vs UWI FC – Edward Seaga Complex

n 3 p.m.: Vere United vs Waterhouse – Wembley Centre of Excellence

n 5 p.m.: Humble Lion vs Arnett Gardens – Effortville Community Centre

Tomorrow’s game

n 8 p.m.: Harbour View FC vs Mount Pleasant FA – Harbour View Stadium