13 January 2008

Igesund: Pirates are dangerous

Maritzburg United coach Gordon Igesund concedes that his side are in for a tough game against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday night.

The Team of Choice go into this game on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Moroka Swallows last Sunday. Fortune was again not on United's side as they bravely battled the last 30 minutes with just 10 men after Bryce Aka was red-carded.

A draw looked to have been very much on the cards until a late goal cruelly denied Maritzburg a point.

Igsund's men must now regroup and focus on Pirates, who will be desperate to win after losing to SuperSport United last week.

"I like the way Krol (Pirates coach) goes about his job. I have a good idea of what to expect, but one thing is for sure, it is going to be a tough 90 minutes, Pirates are wounded and that will make them more dangerous," Igesund told Sapa.

January's fixture schedule has not been kind on United - once they have battled through the Pirates game, matches against Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United, Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic await them this month.

Admitting that the league is extremely competitive, Igesund has set his side a realistic target from their upcoming handful of matches.

"It is important we steer away from relegation and move into the middle of the table. But it really is going to be a tough 14 days for us and that will test the character of my players. This season has produced a highly competitive league. I am realistic and will be looking for seven points from the next five matches," he said.

The four-time PSL title-winning coach is hopeful that careless mistakes will be cut out at the back as the players get more accustomed to playing with each other as the season wears on.

"We are a new team. I knew it would take time for the players to get to know each other, but we have conceded a lot of silly goals that we need to prevent in future."

He added: "The club management have been fantastic to me and the players. My goal is to finish the league in the middle of the table. But first we have to move out of the relegation zone."

While Aka will miss the game against Pirates, United have welcome news in that defender Gary Goldstone and midfielder Sipho Mngomezulu are available for selection.