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ISL 2017: We, not the opponents, should entertain the crowd, says ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham ahead of Pune encounter

Sheringham is happy with his side
Sheringham is happy with his side's preparations for the season
Rohit Roy
Modified 25 Nov 2017, 22:39 IST

ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham believes grinding out results in home games and getting maximum points will be the key to a successful season. The reigning champions ATK began their campaign last Friday with a goalless draw against a determined Kerala Blasters side.

ATK got plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet but failed to convert, resulting in them having to settle for a single point. When asked about his striking options and the absence of their marquee forward Robbie Keane, Sheringham said, "I don't think there's a problem in my strike force. Kuqi had a good game last time around and Robin's been doing good as well, he's been impressive in training, he can't wait for a start.

"I know how strikers are. I have belief in Kuqi, he did a good job for us last week, he's unselfish and I like my strikers like that, but, of course, they have to score which would make life easier for everyone. We also have Hitesh (Sharma) playing just behind, but we have players who can score goals."

"We are looking forward to having Keane back, he's had an injection in his Achilles. Things have progressed well and he's on his way as we speak which will give a big lift to everyone at the club. He's definitely not playing tomorrow, we hope next week or the week after, I'll keep my fingers crossed," he further added.

ATK, who are all set to host their first match of the new campaign, will be hoping to have a good home stretch this season. The former Manchester United striker can't wait to get started and turn their home into a fortress. “We need to win our home games. We are here to play well and impress our fans. I'd love to have a full house and we want to play in front of them."

ATK, who play FC Pune City tomorrow, are wary of the threats their opponents possess and won't be taking them lightly even though Ranko Popovic's men began their campaign with a loss. Sheringham believes that FC Pune City who have a lot of players with previous ISL experience do have an advantage in that area, but his side are ready to counter their threat.

"We know about their strengths and are well prepared. Ashley (Westwood), who has been here before, has helped us with a lot of insights too. They are a dangerous outfit and have some exceptional players. We have to be on guard to get the best result tomorrow. We want to entertain the crowd out there and not let them," said Sheringham.

The Kolkata outfit have been rattled by injuries, but Sheringham believes his squad are progressing well. "Ashutosh had a hamstring problem three weeks ago and now he's nearing full fitness. But you can never be too sure with hamstrings so we are being cautious. It's the same with Anwar Ali. Jayesh has a knee problem, we expected it to be a longer injury, but he's a fit lad and he's progressing well. We hope to have him back soon. Ronald and Shankar are also nearing fitness," he confirmed.

Published 25 Nov 2017, 22:39 IST
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