Jamshedpur: Usually late bloomers in the Indian Super League (ISL), Kerala Blasters in it’s aim to become a third time lucky after two final defeats looked lost and disposed with just 10 points from eight matches but the return of David James have changed tides once again.
Unbeaten in the last three games two of which were consecutive wins against Delhi Dynamos and Mumbai City, the ‘Men in Yellow’ have looked a different side, more direct and more threatening and it didn’t go unnoticed from the eyes of Jamshedpur coach Steve Coppell, whom Kerala face at the JRD Tata Complex on Tuesday.
“Kerala Blasters won back to back games before coming here. David James has had a significant impact on the team,” said the former Reading gaffer who accepted that they were forced to change their preparation plans, after Kerala’s back-to-back wins at the turn of new year.
“We are preparing to play against a top quality side. The nature of the team is different so the preparation we made three weeks ago is different from the preparation we are taking now,” Coppell said.
But Jamshedpur are desperate to win at home, which if they indeed achieve will be their first after two draws and two defeats in the four games they have played on their home soil. “It’s also a game we are desperate to win,” Coppell added, aware another loss from here may increase the gap between them and Chennaiyin FC on top, which is already 10 points.
David James was however equally confident. The former Liverpool goalkeeper is yet to lose a game after taking charge and although the last of his two wins have come by a 1-0 margin he said, “The wins were vital.”
Five out of the 11 goals the Blasters shave scored so far came in the last three matches, four of which were from Iain Hume. The Canadian after playing very few minutes under René Meulensteen, has been on fire in the new reign something that James echoed when he said that this side has just too much quality in them, to be languishing at the bottom-half of the table.
Whether the miser defence of Jamshedpur that has leaked in just six goals, the lowest this season manage to control Hume is what may decide the match but the Kerala coach signed off saying, “There is a lot of energy in Jamshedpur and we expect an energetic match.”