FC Pune City registered their best ever finish in the Indian Super League history as they were knocked out in the semi-finals by Bengaluru FC.
This season, they look to claim the ISL Trophy after bringing some fresh changes to the squad as well as backroom staff.
Finishing the first three seasons at sixth, seventh and sixth respectively in the table, the Stallions finished fourth in the table by winning nine out of 18 matches last time around.
Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho were the starts last season with former scoring nine goals and the latter eight. The attack has been boosted by the addition of ISL all-time top scorer Ian Hume from Kerala Blasters.
Former Delhi Dynamoes manager Miguel Portugal has taken charge at the Pune-based club for the fifth season of ISL following the departure of Ranko Popovic.
The club decided to stay back in India for the pre-season preparations at Goa to participate in the AWES Cup (The Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons) where they played against some I-League clubs.
FC Pune City Squad
The Orange Stallions' squad for the first half of the season was announced and a notable absentee was their summer signing Canadian striker Iain Hume who is still recovering from an injury which he sustained last season playing for Kerala Blasters.
Pune lost Marcos Tebar to Delhi Dynamos. But the new midfield signings Jonathan Silva and Nikhil Pujari can fill the void left by the Spaniard.
Martin Diaz and Matt Mills are the new additions to the defence. The late addition of former ATK defender Ashutosh Mehta will bolster the Pune backline.
Vishal Kaith, who had the maximum number of clean sheets in ISL last season is retained to serve as the goalkeeper.
The retaining of Marcelinho and Alfaro will please the Pune fans as they seek to form a formidable partnership with Ian Hume at the front.
Goalkeepers: Anuj Kumar, Kamaljith Singh, Vishal Kaith
Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Gurtej Singh, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Sahil Panwar, Sarthak Golui(All Indians), Martin Diaz(Uruguay), Matt Mills(England),
Midfielders: Adil Khan, Alwyn George, Rohit Kumar, Shankar Sampingraj, Jonathan Vila (Spain), Marco Stankovic(Austria),
Forwards: Diego Carlos (Brazil), Emiliano Alfaro(Uruguay), Marcelo Pereira(Brazil), Ashique Kuruniyan, Nikhil Poojari, Robin Singh, Gabriel Fernandes, Jacob Vanlalhlimpuia (All India).
FC Pune City Head Coach
With the Serbian manager Ranko Popovic leaving the club this summer, Pune City has appointed Miguel Portugal as the new man-in-charge.
The Spaniard coach takes over the reigns after managing Delhi Dynamos FC in 2017-18. With an unforgettable fightback from Dynamos towards the end of the season, the philosophy of Portugal is clear and have delighted the fans.
Having managed many teams like Real Madrid youth and Grenada FC and won the Bolivian league in 2012 with Bolivar, he is one of the best managers in the league.
Now, he hopes the team adjusts to his philosophy and tactics. He is being assisted by Assistant Coach Gonzalo Yarza, Technical Director Pradyum Reddy and Goalkeeping Coach Ali Uzunhasanoglu.
FC Pune City Probable XI
Vishal Kaith will don the goalkeeper gloves for the upcoming season having a terrific performance between the sticks last season. Matt Mills will partner Martin Diaz at the heart of the defence ahead of Gurtej Singh.
Sahil Panwar will start at the left-back with new signing Ashutosh Mehta starting at the right-back.
Adil Khan and Nikhil Pujari will anchor the midfield from the centre of the park.
Diego Carlos and Ashique Kuruniyan will be on both the flanks.
Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro will form the attacking duo
Predictions for FC Pune City
With Iain Hume joining the squad halfway, Pune City has the attacking trio which can cause a lot of damages to the opposition defence.
Miguel Portugal is an experienced coach and given the squad he has, Pune city can emulate the performance they did last season to reach the playoffs.
Prediction: PlayoffsPublished 27 Sep 2018, 19:38 IST