Table-toppers Central FC will be keen to make a statement by grabbing all three points when it comes up against defending champions, DirecTV W Connection in a top-of-table Digicel T&T Pro League clash tonight.
The encounter dubbed the "Couva Derby" kicks of at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva from 8 pm and will be preceded by a meeting between North East Stars and Pt Fortin Civic two hours earlier.
The Zoran Vranes-coached Central FC leads the standings with 20 points from nine matches, three ahead of W Connection which has a match in hand followed by Defence Force with 17, Stars (14) and Pt Fortin and Caledonia, both with 11.
And in the January transfer window, Vranes bolstered his team with the signings of Jamaican Upston Edwards and T&T defenders Uriah Bentick and Kevon Villaroel, as well as the returning to the club of last season's top performers Willis Plaza, Rundell Winchester, Jamal Jack, Elton John and Ghanian Michael Yaw Darko, the latter from a loan stint at Cunupia FC to an already potent squad inclusive of Marvin Oliver, Ataulla Guerra, Jason Marcano, Sean de Silva, goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams, and Leston Paul.
In the two matches since league play resumed after the Christmas break, Central FC has rattled off a 3-1 win over Pt Fortin Civic followed by an equally impressive 4-1 spanking of St Ann's Rangers week ago and will be in top form for tonight's encounter, the third between the two clubs so far this season.
However, it is W Connection which is expected to start the match in higher spirits having won their first meeting, 1-0 to retain the Digicel Charity Shield on September 20 before both teams battled to a 1-1 on October 28 in Pro League round one play a month later.
The "Savonetta Boys" will also be out to make up for the disappointment of losing out on the inaugural Rawle Fletcher Trophy and $35,000 as winners of round one of the Pro League on goal-difference to its rival. Speaking ahead of the match, W Connection technical director/coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier made it clear his team's objective is to retain the championship by doing everything legally possible to do so.
"We are happy with the position we are at the moment. We have a top of the table match coming up and the objective is to try and win the game, stated Charles-Fevrier who led the club to five titles: Pro League, T&TFA FA Trophy, Toyota Classic, Digicel Pro Bowl and Digicel Charity Shield last season
"Both teams know each other very well. Central are a good team, capable of scoring goals, so we are preparing for a very difficult game.
"But we are very confident in our team and confident that we can defend our championship."
W Connection used the transfer window to make available for selection, Colombians Stiven Lopez Concha and Christian Rodriguez, St Lucian Shirvone Malik St Prix, and national midfielder Shahdon Winchester, who completed his second year stint at Finland top-flight club FF Jaro last year, and is available on loan for a few matches.
With respect to the signings the W Connection coach said, "It's just that we are trying to strengthen our squad because of all the competitions we still have to compete in."
"We obviously want to have a chance in every competition so it is necessary to have a squad with the required number of players to carry us through the season."
For tonight's match, the W Connection boss is expected to have national Under-20 players Shannon Gomez, Martieon Watson, Maurice Ford, Aikim Andrews, Akeem Garcia and Jabari Mitchell, available after they returned from Jamaica yesterday following T&T's exit from the Concacaf Under-20
But after playing five matches in just over a week, Charles-Fevrier may opt to give them the day off and stick to the core of players that have participated in the recent 1-1 draw with San Juan Jabloteh and 3-0 blanking of Caledonia AIA.
Both Stars and Pt Fortin Civic enter their match-up with 2-1-1 records in their last four matches.
However, while the Sangre Grande-based Stars were edged out 1-0 by Defence Force, Pt Fortin led by a hat-trick from Marcus Joseph steamrolled Caledonia 6-2 and will be out to avenge a round 3-1 loss.
Tomorrow, at the same venue, cellar-placed St Ann's Rangers play Jabloteh from 4pm followed by Police and Defence Force at 6 pm.
Today's Digicel Pro League matches
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
North East Stars vs Pt Fortin Civic, 6 pm
Central FC vs W Connection, 8 pm
Venue: Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva
St Ann's Rangers vs San Juan Jabloteh, 4 pm
Police vs Defence Force, 6 pm
Current Digicel T&T Pro League
Teams P W D L F A Pts
Central FC 9 6 2 1 27 8 20
W Connection 8 5 2 1 20 5 17
Defence Force 9 5 1 3 15 13 16
North East Stars 9 4 2 3 8 6 14
Pt Fortin Civic 9 3 2 4 18 17 11
Caledonia 9 3 2 4 15 19 11
Jabloteh 9 2 4 3 9 15 10
Police 9 2 4 3 12 19 10
Rangers 9 0 1 8 7 28 1?