Orlando Pirates will be keen to bounce back to winning ways when they host Royal AM in Thursday’s Premier Soccer League clash at Orlando Stadium.
Having last been crowned PSL champions a decade ago, Pirates’ title credentials have come under question after losing a match and drawing two others in their last three league outings.
It is a run that has seen them drop seven points out of a possible nine and left them seventh on the table.
They have three points fewer than Royal AM who are fifth on the standings with both sides having played seven games each so far in this campaign.
But victory on Thursday would help the Buccaneers Dislodge their Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs from position six.
For Royal AM, a win presents them with an opportunity to end the day second on the table with just three points fewer than leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
|Game||Orlando Pirates vs Royal AM|
|Date||Thursday, October 28|
|Time||17:30 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
|DStv.com/DStv Now App||SuperSport TV’s PSL channel 202|
Squads & Team News
A spate of injuries have come back to haunt the Buccaneers camp again just like last season.
Striker Tshegofatso Mabasa and goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands are the latest to join the team’s growing list of those battling fitness.
Mabasa’s blow leaves Ghanaian forward Kwame Peprah as the only available recognised striker.
Sandilands’ injury further handicaps Pirates in goal with Richard Ofori and Elson Sithole being fitness concerns which saw Diski Challenge goalkeeper Thuntsane Kopano deputising Siyabonga Mpontshane in their last match against Congolese side Diables Noirs.
Linda Mntambo who was used as a makeshift number nine against Diables Noirs is doubtful for this match after lasting just seven minutes in their Caf Confederation Cup game.
Malawi striker Frank Mhango has not featured in the Buccaneers’ last eight games while attacking midfielder Vincent Pule is also ruled out of Thursday’s tie.
Defender Innocent Maela as well as attackers Thembinkosi Lorch and Zakhele Lepasa remain injured.
There are no worries of injuries or suspended players in Royal AM coach John Maduka’s camp.
With the team’s top-scorer Victor Letsoalo who has scored six goals in as many league games fit, Pirates defenders could be bracing themselves for a tough afternoon.
Pirates go into Thursday’s match worried about a blunt attack worsened by injuries that have seen them scoring just two goals in their last five games across all competitions.
But the fact that Royal AM have conceded six times in their last five league outings could provide hope for the Buccaneers that their opponents’ defence can be breached.
Having scored 12 goals within that period is what could have masked Thwihli Thwahla’s defensive shortcomings.
Their Letsoalo-lead strikeforce will be coming up against a Pirates defence which has conceded three goals in the last five games.
It will be the first time for Pirates and Royal AM to meet since the latter secured the franchise of Bloemfontein Celtic.
The Buccaneers would be wary of their opponents as they face a team which humiliated fellow Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs 4-1 at FNB Stadium in September.