Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Home may not be the most comfortable place for coach Harold Thomas this evening. The St. Catherine native who coaches defending champions Harbour View, will lead his charges into battle at the Spanish Town Prison Oval against a Rivoli team intent on delivering some hurt on all visitors.
Sitting in 11th place in the 12-team League on one point from three games, the 'Stars of the East' are in desperate need of a change in fortunes, something Thomas acknowledges.
"The form of the team in this the early part of the season has not been great. This is not unlike us. We started in a similar fashion but we recovered by this time last year," said Thomas who missed his team's 0-1 loss to Montego Bay United because of a car accident.
Much has been made about the effect the absence of team leader and creative midfielder Jermaine Hue and midfield enforcer Evan Taylor has had on the team but Thomas said the problem is one of finishing.
"It is not the absence of a Jermaine Hue or an Evan Taylor, two of our most influential players last season. Yes, Hue especially was crucial to giving that final pass but we have been getting those passes in but have not been converting.
"Not converting has been our problem, well up until week. We have done a lot of work in training this week and have been looking much better so we are hoping that the goals will come," Thomas added.
Those goals Thomas expects to come from Brian Brown and Donovan Edwards among others with service coming from the "improved Keith Kelly" expected to add the special touch in the final third.
Despite not winning any games in the Premier League thus far Harbour View have been having a good run in the FLOW Champions Cup with Rivoli one of their victims.
"In the last game we played against Rivoli we won 2-1 and got the goals from our wingbacks Kemar Lawrence and Xavian Virgo," Thomas stated.
Thomas knows though that today's game will not be an easy one.
"Rivoli are a very capable and determined team. They play with a lot of emotion.
"Coming out of their game against Sporting Central it was one of revenge because Sporting were the ones who knocked them out of the Premier League the last time. Having lost to us in the FLOW Cup you get the impression that it is a similar attitude they are coming with," explained Thomas who added that his team will be going for a win.
Rivoli's Calvert Fitzgerald is not a man short on confidence and with five points already in the bag from three games he may have some justification for his confidence and a win is the only thing on his mind.
"We try to maximise tour points at home. We gave collected four on the road and one at home so we will positively going for the win.
"In the FLOW cup it was pretty close. It could have gone either way. They got the better of us but we have put things in place to correct that," Fitzgerald said.
While Rivoli have only scored two goals Fitgerald believes he has the man, Devon Hodges, former national representative, to deliver the killer blow.
"Hodges is our top striker and he is playing very well. He has only scored one goal so far but he is playing well and getting better each game. Midfielder Valentine Gardner is playing well also as well as the goalkeeper and Marlon Henry," Fitzgerald asserted.
But while he is impressed with the goalkeeper and the attackers, the man who had really impressed him in his team this season is central midfielder Raymond Williamson.
"Williamson has been a rock in front of our defenders. He has been our best player so far and we expect him to continue that job against Harbour View," Fitzgerald said of the player they picked up from Tivoli Gardens in the transfer window.
While a lot of eyes will be on Prison Oval, even more may be on Ferdie Neita Park where former champions Portmore United go in search of their first point of the season. Their opponents Tivoli Gardens are not the kind of opponents they want to see when they so desperately need a change of fortune.
Not only have Portmore not earned a point, they have also not scored and the word that could be on their lips if they do not get a win could be change - a change of coach.
3:30 p.m.: Boys Town vs Montego Bay United - Collie Smith Complex
3:30 p.m.: Rivoli United vs Harbour View - Prison Oval
6:00 p.m.: Arnett Gardens FC vs. Sporting Central - Anthony Spaulding Complex
700 p.m.: Portmore United FC vs. Tivoli Gardens - Ferdie Neita Park
5:00 p.m.: Waterhouse vs August Town - Drewsland Stadium
4:30 p.m.: Cavalier vs Humble Lion - Stadium East
P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Humble Lion 3 2 0 1 3 1 2 6
MoBay United 3 2 0 1 3 1 2 6
Waterhouse 3 2 0 1 3 1 2 6
Cavalier 3 2 0 1 2 1 1 6
August Town 3 1 2 0 3 2 1 5
Rivoli 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Tivoli 3 1 2 0 3 2 1 5
Boys' Town 3 1 1 1 2 3 -1 4
Sporting 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3
Arnett 3 0 2 1 3 4 -1 2
H View 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1
Portmore 3 0 0 3 0 4 -4 0