It’s been six games of the season so far for Steve Coppell’s men and they just can’t get any kind of consistent form going, neither good nor bad. When lacklustre FC Pune City come over for a visit it is expected that the loss from last time out against Bengaluru will be avenged.
Uche is out…
Adding to Coppell’s woes with inconsistent form is the news that Kalu Uche is out for the foreseeable future. According to Coppell, the veteran striker will be out until Christmas time.
“Kalu has gone back to Barcelona. He had an extensive tear in his quadriceps muscles. It is grade three which is quite bad. He has gone to Barcelona to receive further medical treatment. He obviously leaves a big hole in our squad,” Coppell said, according to Goal.com.
The Englishman revealed they have asked the league if they can be allowed to sign a replacement.
“We have requested the ISL whether we can replace him in the short term. They have said yes but that creates problems in itself because trying to find someone for a short period of time is very difficult,” the ATK manager said.
…but will he be missed?
So the 35-year-old (he turns 36 next week) Nigerian is out for a good while, but will he be that badly missed? Looking purely at his numbers this season, would suggest no. One goal in five appearances and only two games where he played more than 80 minutes. That would make you think he is only a bit part in Coppell’s plans, but it’s never ideal to lack options.
But with Uche ageing quite a bit now, and this injury being quite a bad one for any age, is it time to ask the question if Coppell shouldn’t try to find someone who could take Uche’s place permanently? It’s not certain that he will return to his prime, and looking at this season so far, that “prime” seems to be more “meh” than anything else.
Right, it’s time for another look at Pune’s god-awful season. I said last time that it would be Chennaiyin who would come out on top and break their hopeless streak of poor results. And I was not wrong on that, but it doesn’t give me any joy to be.
No one (except perhaps the team’s biggest rival) would like to see a football team struggle as much as Pune have done so far this season. The 4-2 loss to Chennaiyin was just the latest in a long line of poor results. That new manager can’t come fast enough.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Pune. ATK are quite bad at home. In fact, they’ve lost three out of four home games this season. Perhaps, just perhaps, Reddy’s Pune can get a point or even (whisper it quietly) a win.
I’ll take a gamble and say they come away with at least a point today.