Hosts Kerala Blasters will be facing the A-League side Melbourne City FC in the opening match of Toyota Yaris LaLiga World Preseason Tournament at Kochi today, July 24.
Ahead of the match, David James said, "We have a group of players who want to win and are hungry for results. Melbourne City FC and Girona FC are 2 big teams in their respective leagues and Kerala Blasters hope to get a strong start to the pre-season having no burden on the results."
The Kerala Blasters Manager said that there are a lot of changes in the players and backroom staff for the new season.
This pre-season tournament will be a time to understand the staff and players very well; to know the strengths and weaknesses of the team.
He added, "The new additions are very excited and have shown good signs during the training and we want to do everything right tomorrow against a bigger opponent and hope for a win."
On the starting line up against Melbourne City FC, the Englishman said, "There are a few injury concerns but the squad has a good number of players to cover up the injuries." He also hinted at using some of the reserve team players.
James revealed that the young Indian Keeper Dheeraj Singh will guard the post tomorrow with Naveen Kumar also available for selection, while Sujith Sasikumar will miss the match due to injury. The other major concern for the team is their star forward CK Vineeth who will miss the tournament due to a jaw injury.
On Dheeraj Singh starting tomorrow, David James said, "There is a lot of expectation from Dheeraj as he has been brilliant for the U-17 Indian side and hopefully he will perform well tomorrow."
James named Slaviša Stojanović and Matej Poplatnik 'Multi-purpose attackers,' who can play in various attacking positions. James also said they have CK Vineeth and Prasanth who were great last season. With so many options available, the Manager is ready to experiment for these two games.
When asked about a large number of local talents getting their place in the team, James praised the state for its improvement in the game within a short span and said, "Kerala Basters is not a charity. They are there in the squad because they deserve it on merit."
Within four years time the Football development in Kerala has been very good, producing some fine talents. I am very happy with the team which consists of some local players and 5 foreign players. We still have an opening for a foreign player, but we won't be doing any hasty signing as we are happy with the squadPublished 24 Jul 2018, 12:06 IST