Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) and Rivers United will meet on Sunday in an intriguingly-poised Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clash in Ibadan.
The match day six clash at the Lekan Salami Stadium is important for both sides for different reasons.
United dropped two pints at home in their last NPFL game against Lobi Stars when a win would have seen them stay at the coattails of the surprise leaders, Plateau United.
The Port Harcourt side currently sit in fifth place but would be desperate to notch a positive result and climb further up the table.
In stark contrast, 3SC are just one place from the foot of the table with the club’s head coach, Fatai Amoo well aware that defeat on Sunday will make life even more complicated for his side.
He will be banking on goalkeeper, Michael Uweru to keep a clean sheet on Sunday with Sodiq Suraq, Omololu Saheed, Isiaka Rafiu and Olabisi Samuel the favourites to start in a four-man defence.
Amoo is famed for keeping things compact in midfield and against the Pride of Rivers, he may look at the direction of players like Alaba Osawe, Adebayo Ayobami and playmaker, Bode Daniel.
The burden of providing the goals for the Oluyole Warriors falls on Adigun Adewale while super sub, Ebitimi Agogo will be eager to get a chance to prove his worth against his former club.
Rivers United have yet to lose a game this season and Amoo knows his side will have to display conviction to topple the millionaires from Port Harcourt.
“They are the Super 4 champions and they have a very experienced coach.
“They have strong financial backing (from their sponsors) and have very good and experienced players.
“But we know one thing; on Sunday, it will be 11 players going up against another 11 and we will try to see what we can do.
“We respect them for what they are and what they have done in the league so far.
“They have still not lost a game this season and that tells you that they are a very solid team,” he told www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
The technical manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma is still hurt by the draw at home to Lobi Stars on match day five and wants his players to produce a response in Ibadan on Sunday.
Eguma will definitely fancy his chances of nicking a good result in the ancient city against a 3SC side that last won an NPFL match on January 15.
“We dropped some points at home and we are pained by that. Nobody is happy about it.
“We have to go back and work harder as a team.
“We have gotten points on the road in our first two away games of the season so we can still do it again on Sunday.
“There was a lot of hard work in terms of preparations before those games against Akwa United (on match day two) and FC Ifeanyiubah (on match day four) and we got positive results.
“We have worked just as hard if not harder for this game against 3SC and I am confident we will make our fans happy.
“However, if we play the same way we played against Lobi Stars last Sunday, we will lose to 3SC,” he said.
Rivers United have amassed nine points from a possible while 3SC, currently ensconced in 19th spot on the 20-team log have claimed four points from their opening five games of the season.
Form guide (last five NPFL matches)
Shooting Stars (LDLLW)
Shooting Stars 2-0 Lobi Stars (Home)
Shooting Stars 0-1 Sunshine Stars (Away)
Shooting Stars 1-2 Kano Pillars (Away)
Shooting Stars 1-1 MFM FC (Home)
Shooting Stars 0-2 ABS FC (Away)
Rivers United (DDWWW)
Rivers United 2-1 El Kanemi Warriors (Home)
Rivers United 1-1 Akwa United (Away)
Rivers United 1-0 Niger Tornadoes (Home)
Rivers United 0-0 FC Ifeanyiubah (Away)
Rivers United 0-0 Lobi Stars (Away)
Previous meetings in competitive matches (Head-to-head)
Matches: Three (3)
Rivers United wins: Two (2)
Shooting Stars wins: One (1)
Draws; Nil (0)
Details (Specific breakdown)
Shooting Stars 1-0 Rivers United (NPFL; Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan on March 19, 2016).
Rivers United 2-0 Shooting Stars (NPFL; Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on July 17, 2016)
Rivers United 3-2 (PSO) Shooting Stars (Federation Cup; July 13, 2016 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna).