Defence Force will have it eyes set on taking an outright lead at the top of the Digicel T&T Pro League table when it faces Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA in a feature match of a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from 9 pm tonight.
At the same venue, defending champions DirecTV W Connection goes after its first league win when it comes up against cellar-placed St Ann’s Rangers which is without a point after two matches.
But while W Connection will be fancied to get its first points of the season, the meeting between Defence Force and Caledonia, the Caribbean Football Union Club champions, is expected to be a closer affair, if their meeting in the First Citizens Cup final last month, won by the latter 2-1 is anything to go by.
For tonight’s clash, Defence Force coach Ross Russell, who saw his troops claw their way back from 3-0 down to earn a 3-3 draw with North East Stars at the same venue on Saturday, is expected to be faced with a selection headache.
In the match against Stars, Russell opted to leave his returning national quartet of Richard “Shaka” Roy, last year’s top scorer; Devorn Jorsling, his predecessor; Kevon Carter; and Curtis Gonzalves, out of the starting team, while Belgrave was a second-half substitute.
However, having dodged a bullet against Stars, the Defence Force coach, who led his team to a 2-1 win over Rangers in its league opener, may be tempted to start all four as he seeks revenge for the First Citizens Cup final loss at the same venue.
Caledonia, on the other hand, has struggled so far in the league, losing its opener to Stars 3-1 and drawing with W Connection last weekend and will be eager to jump-start its title with a win today.
A welcome boost for Stars as well will be the return of midfielder Densil Theobald, who missed the clash with the defending champions due to national team duties in St Kitts/Nevis, while coach Jamaal Shabazz is expected to return today from duties with the Guyana “Golden Jaguars” in the CFU Cup First Round Group Two qualifiers in St Lucia which ended last night.
Tomorrow, a double-header is also scheduled for Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar, where league debutants Central FC will look to build on its 1-0 win over Police when it faces T&TEC from 2 pm, while Stars and Police clash two hours later.
Looking ahead to its clash with the “Electricity Boys” who held off Rangers 3-2 in its last outing Central FC captain Anthony Wolfe has warned his teammates they can’t become complacent now.
In tomorrow’s second match, North East Stars coach Angus Eve may have to do without the services of former national striker Cornell Glen, who provided three assists in the 3-3 draw with Defence Force.
“We could be without striker Cornell Glen for Saturday’s match against Police,” said Eve. “It’s his groin and he is very doubtful at this time. “Meantime, Jamerson is likely to be out for two weeks as he received 12 stitches near his mouth and he could be out for two weeks,” explained the North East Stars coach. “It’s a tender area and he is a defensive midfielder. So it was recommended that he don’t play because he can’t go up for headers.”
Digicel T&T Pro League matches:
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo
Rangers vs W Connection, 7 pm
Caledonia vs Defence Force, 9 pm
Venue: Larry Gomes Stadium, Malabar
Central vs T&TEC, 2 pm
North East Stars vs Police, 4 pm
Teams P W D L F A Pts
Stars 2 1 1 0 6 4 4
Defence Force 2 1 1 0 4 4 4
Police 2 1 0 1 2 1 3
Central 2 1 0 1 1 0 3
T&TEC 2 1 0 1 3 4 3
W Connection 1 0 1 0 1 1 1
Caledonia 2 0 1 1 2 4 1
Rangers 2 0 0 2 3 5 0