Rivers United return to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) action for the first time since March 11 when they face Lobi Stars on Sunday in Makurdi.
Lobi Stars currently top the NPFL league standings and go into the fixture as overwhelming favourites to nick a win over the pride of Rivers.
Coach of Lobi Stars, Solomon Ogbeide is also sure to receive useful tips on the ‘inner workings’ of Rivers United from three former players of the Port Harcourt club, Aliasou Sanou, Esosa Igbinoba and Ayo Saka, now on the books of the Makurdi club.
Ogbeide will however be deprived of the services of his efficient marksman, Anthony Okpotu who is serving a three-match ban following the red card he picked up in the 1-2 defeat at Nasarawa United on match day 13.
In Okpotu’s absence, Samad Kadiri will be expected to lead the line and Ogbeide claims Okpotu will not be missed.
“My other players are not robots and Okpotu has played just two matches for us in 2018 so we will cope,” he told our official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
Rivers United team news
Sunday Rotimi serves the second of his three match ban following his dismissal against FC Ifeanyiubah in Port Harcourt on March 4 and will not play on Sunday.
Club captain, Festus Austin returns to the match day squad after missing United’s last game against Wikki Tourists in Jos while Emeka Atuloma and Emeka Ogbugh have also made the trip to Makurdi and are available for selection.
Ogbugh and Atuloma (who has yet to complete a single minute of competitive action for United this term) both missed out on the 0-3 reverse to Wikki in Jos.
Goalkeeper, Robert Cole who is expected to start on Sunday in the absence of Rotimi believes United can get a positive result at the Aper Aku Stadium.
“We are prepared for this game on Sunday and we are quite positive of the outcome,” he said.
United have lost on their last two visits to Makurdi with Nanen Imenger scoring a late winner the last time the two sides went toe to toe at the Aper Aku Stadium on June 16, 2017.
Game: Lobi Stars versus Rivers United
Competition: Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL)
Match day: Fourteen (14)
Current positions of respective clubs on the NPFL log: Lobi Stars: First (1st); Rivers United: Eleventh (11th);
Date: Sunday, March 25, 2018
Venue: Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi
Time: 4 pm
Live coverage of this game will be available on Twitter (@RiversUnitedFC) and our official WhatsApp channel from 3:00 pm on match day.
Lobi Stars (LWWWD)
Lobi Stars 0-0 MFM (A)
Lobi Stars 1-0 Akwa United (H)
Lobi Stars 1-0 Heartland (A)
Lobi Stars 1-0 Katsina United (H)
Lobi Stars 1-2 Nasarawa United (A)
Rivers United (LDWWL)
Rivers United 0-1 Yobe Stars (A)
Rivers United 2-0 Niger Tornadoes (H)
Rivers United 1-0 Kwara United (A)
Rivers United 1-1 FC Ifeanyiubah (H)
Rivers United 0-3 Wikki Tourists (A)
Previous meetings in competitive matches (Head-to-head)
Matches: Four (4)
Lobi Stars wins: Two (2)
Rivers United wins: One (1)
Draws; One (1)
Details (Specific breakdown)
Game one: Lobi Stars 1-0 Rivers United (NPFL; Aper Aku Stadium Makurdi on May 22, 2016).
Game two: Rivers United 1-0 Lobi Stars (NPFL; Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on June 5, 2016)
Game three: Rivers United 0-0 Lobi Stars (NPFL: Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on January 29, 2017).
Game one: Lobi Stars 1-0 Rivers United (NPFL; Aper Aku Stadium Makurdi on June 16, 2017).
Photo credit: LMC