MoBay look to close in on RSPL leaders
Of the six teams in the lower half of the Red Stripe Premier League, last-placed Boys' Town have collected the most points, seven, from their last five games and will be aiming to get another three more when the league continues with three games today and two tomorrow.
Boys' Town will 'host' fellow strugglers Maverley-Hughenden, a team that clawed their way out of the last two with a mid-week win over Waterhouse, in a bid to narrow the gap on the teams above them and continue their quest for survival. But while Boys' Town's fight for survival will generate a lot of interest, the game of the day is shaping up to be the clash between hosts Harbour View and defending champions Montego Bay United.
Former champions Harbour View ended one of their worst runs with a 1-0 away victory over Waterhouse and in the process improved their standing to eighth position, but one win in the last five games is not the kind of statistics one wants to have heading to a matchup against the defending champions. To make matters worse, the defending champions have collected eight points from their last five games, including a 3-1 thumping of Tivoli Gardens.
That 3-1 win, which included a double strike from Owayne Gordon, signalled a return to form for the Montego Bay United team, which recently ended a disappointing run in the Caribbean Football Union Champions League.
NOW FOCUSED ON LEAGUE
"I think the desire that we started the season with was to have done better in the Champions League. What we do know is that is behind us and we are now focused on the Premier League. It is like starting over again and we are moving forward with full force to win the league," Orville Powell, president of Montego Bay United FC, said ahead of today's game.
"Based on our vision, that (performance in the Champions League) was a big a disappointment. We wanted to play at the highest level. That is where we feel we belong, and looking back at it, we lost in terms of revenue and having our players on a big stage to showcase their ability.
"We want to give ourselves another shot at it based on how we finish in the RSPL this year. We want to play in it every year," Powell continued.
Today's game, according to Powell, is a part of that plan and his squad, he said, should have their top players available, including Dino Williams.
"All our players are available. Gordon is doing well, (Donovan) Carey is playing well also. I think we have found a second gear and I feel good about the effort that they are putting in," said Powell.
Harbour View, for their part, are looking to build on the performance which gave them the win over Waterhouse last week.
"We have to really find the extra resolve and commitment to put ourselves in a position to win. We have had a good week leading up to this game and we working on keeping clean sheets and collecting maximum points going forward," Ludlow Bernard, coach of Harbour View, said.
The Stars of the East had a big boost when they managed to get four of their former players to join their fight at least to the end of the season. The four - Luton Shelton, Sean Fraser, McKaully Tulloch and Akiem Priestley have shown their value, but have not been able to feature consistently.
"Their availability has been sporadic because of injury concerns. Shelton was roughed up in the game against Tivoli, Fraser sustained an injury even before he played his first game and it got worse after and Priestley developed a hamstring injury.
"These injuries came about because of their fitness level due to inactivity, so we have to be cautious with them. Tulloch has been the consistent one. He has been leading the line for the last five, six games. He is determined to help the team as best as he can," Bernard explained.
For Harbour View to get the desired result, goalkeeper Christian Kluvi, Rosario Harriott, John-Ross Edwards and youngsters such as Javaine Brown will have to be at their best.
- 3 p.m.: Reno FC vs Jamalco FC - STETHS
- 7 p.m.: Harbour View vs Montego Bay United - Harbour View Stadium
- 3:30 p.m.: Boys' Town vs Maverley-Hughenden - Barbican Complex
- 5:30 p.m.: Tivoli Gardens vs Waterhouse - National Stadium
- 8 p.m.: Arnett Gardens vs UWI FC - National Stadium