Pune, April 20 (IANS) Coach Ashley Westwood expects nothing short of a game at full throttle when his team Bengaluru FC take on Pune FC at the Balewadi Stadium here Tuesday in an I-League football match.
Sitting fourth on the table with a point and a game behind Pune, Bengaluru will look to notch their first win in the city as the race to the title picks up pace.
Bengaluru are unbeaten in six games across competitions and while some results may not have gone his team’s way, Westwood is pleased with the performances being dished out.
“We are looking forward to the game against Pune and like I’ve said at most press conferences before a game, we are in good form. We’ve never seen a bad patch at the club which is a testament of the effort the boys are putting in,” said Westwood on the eve of the game.
“As for Tuesday, Pune will feel they have a chance just like us and I expect a good game that will see both teams go full throttle at each other.”
Bengaluru come into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over Warriors FC in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Cup that saw the reigning I-League champions put on a commanding show in Singapore.
Pune, meanwhile, are fresh from a 2-1 win over Dempo in Goa. However, both teams will be without key players owing to suspensions.
His injury time sending off against Mumbai FC means striker Robin Singh will not have any part to play Tuesday while striker Darko Nikac and midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh will be missing in action for the hosts.
Quizzed whether Robin’s absence will be a major setback given the form the striker has been going through (four goals in five games), Westwood begged to differ.
“We have a suspension in Robin, but as do Pune FC. However, I don’t see that as a negative for us because it is a great opportunity for someone else to step up and prove a point,” he said.
Both teams will also look at the game as the best possible chance to catch up with leaders Mohun Bagan who conceded twice in four minutes against Royal Wahingdoh and lost 2-3, their first defeat of the season.
Bengaluru hosted Pune early in the season when the visitors came away 3-1 winners and Westwood said the boys will do all they can to reverse the result.
“Looking back on the game, we had an off day. But even in having an off day, we had far more possession, passes and shots on goal than them – 17 to their 4 to be precise,” said Westwood.
“And on Tuesday, we will be doing our best to reverse the result knowing Pune will be coming for the win too. It’s all set up for a thrilling encounter.”