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Police aims to cut W Connection lead
With run-away leaders DirecTV W Connection not in action until tomorrow, Police FC, one of three teams second on the table and 15 points behind, will have a chance to reclaim sole possession of second spot when the Digicel T&T Pro League continues with a double-header at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from 6 pm today.
The “Savonetta Boys” as W Connection are known, lead the table with 32 points from 12 matches while North East Stars, Pt Fortin Civic and Police are all level on 17 points with Stars’ having a match in hand.
Caledonia AIA and Central FC are next, both with 14 points from 11 and ten matches respectively followed by Defence Force with 13 but from eight matches.
However, today, only Police will have a chance to trim W Connection’s lead while Central FC, Caledonia and Jabloteh will all have aspirations of moving up on the table as well.
In the day’s opener, the law-men, coming off a last gasp 2-1 win over San Juan Jabloteh at the same venue a week ago to continue their improve showing this season under second-year coach Richard Hood face a revamped Central FC squad minus Marvin Oliver.
When both teams met in the first round, Police ran out comfortable 4-1 winners but this time, while confident that his team can get another win, coach Hood says he expects a stronger Central FC.
“We will enter this encounter with Central FC looking for another win to sustain our drive towards the top of the table, but at the same time we know they have strengthened considerable during the transfer window,” said Hood.
Hood said he should have a full compliment of players to choose from, inclusive of defender Dexter Alleyne, who returns from a one-match suspension.
Terry Fenwick, the coach of Central FC, is also serious about mounting a challenge for a top two finish, if not the title as he was perhaps the busiest of all coaches in the transfer window, securing the services of T&T internationals Ataulla Guerra, Willis Plaza, Leston Paul, former national youth defender Yohance Marshall, Defence Force utility player Samuel Delice and 24-year-old T&T midfielder Sean de Silva on the last day of the transfer window.
The six players are expected to be in Fenwick’s 18-man squad which will be without the suspended Oliver as they seek to end a run of three straight drawn results, the last of which was 0-0 away to Pt Fortin Civic on Saturday.
Last season’s league runner-up Caledonia has also been struggling of late, without a win in its last three matches, but will be favour to come out on top against a plucky Jabloteh squad it defeated 4-1 when they met in the first round.
And with a chance of a top two finish to compete for a Concacaf Champions League qualifying spot slipping coach Jamaal Shabazz has also bolstered his squad with 23-year-old American-born Ralph Lundy III, Jameel Neptune, 20, Guyanese Pernell Schultz, 19, Dylon King, 20, St Vincent’s Nical Stephens, 21, St Lucian defender Otev Lawrence, 17; and forwards St Lucian Lester Joseph, 20 and Grenadian Denron Frederick, 24.
Veteran midfielder Conrod Smith has also returned from a short stint at St Ann’s Rangers along with Jamaican goalkeeper Kevin Graham and 21-year-old goalkeeper Jesse Peters.
Lundy’s capture was a steal for Caledonia as he arrived in Trinidad last November on the invitation of Real Maracas.
Kestor Lendor, president of Super League club Real Maracas, who played under Lundy’s father, Ralph Lundy II while attending the College of Charleston, respectively.
However, he got the opportunity to train with Caledonia and coach Jamaal Shabazz felt his addition to his club could make a difference in his team.
For the youthful Jabloteh squad, a few strides have been made since the start of the season under first year coach Keith Jeffreys and with captain Kerry Baptiste, the Pro League’s all-time top goalscorer and this season’s top marksman, back from a one-match ban, should not be underestimated.
Tomorrow, W Connection led by the inform Shahdon Winchester, on-loan from Finland’s FF Jaro until March will journey to Mahaica for a 3.30 pm clash with Pt Fortin Civic.
Both teams have met twice so far this campaign with W Connection securing a 2-0 win at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva in the league and a 6-5 penalty-kicks win after a 0-0 draw at Mahaica in the Toyota Classic quarterfinals.
Teams P W D L F A Pts
W Connection 12 10 2 0 27 5 32
N/East Stars 11 5 2 4 11 8 17
Pt Fortin Civic 12 5 2 5 17 14 17
Police 12 5 2 5 18 20 17
Caledonia 11 3 5 3 17 14 14
Central FC 10 3 5 2 13 11 14
Defence Force 8 4 1 3 15 14 13
Jabloteh 11 3 1 7 18 27 10
Rangers 11 1 0 10 11 34 3
Venue: Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo:
Police vs Central FC, 6 pm
Jabloteh vs Caledonia, 8 pm
Pt Fortin Civic vs W Connection, Mahaica Oval, 3.30 pm
Kerry Baptiste (Jabloteh)—8
Marcus Joseph (Pt Fortin Civic)—7
Joevin Jones (W Connection)—6
Trevin Caesar (North East Stars)—6
Elijah Belgrave (Police)—5