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ATK desperate to revive ISL campaign with win at home vs Jamshedpur FC

Midway into the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season, ATK sacked coach Teddy Sheringham in a desperate bid to resurrect their campaign but there seems no end to their misery under new boss Ashley Westwood.

football Updated: Jan 27, 2018 20:55 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
ISL 2018,ATK,Jamshedpur FC
Defending Indian Super League (ISL) champions have had a miserable season so far, the latest setback being a 1-2 loss against Chennaiyin FC last Thursday. (PTI)

Struggling defending champions ATK will look to end their winless streak when they face Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) fixture at the Saltlake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

Midway into the season, the two-time champions ATK sacked former Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham in a desperate bid to resurrect their campaign but there seems no end to their misery.

Having made technical director Ashley Westwood as their interim coach, ATK string of losses did not end as they succumbed to their fifth defeat in 11 matches -- a 1-2 loss against Chennaiyin FC in their last match.

ATK, who were already plagued by injuries, lost another important attacking player in the form of Portuguese star Zequinha who has been ruled out for at least a month after sustaining a hamstring tear.

“Zequinha has got a hamstring injury while sprinting. He has got some soft tissue damage and with the severity of it our estimate says he could be out for four to six weeks.

“If he is lucky maybe three weeks but with the games coming thick and fast, this is a bad time for him to get injured,” Westwood said.

ATK’s versatile player Ryan Taylor, a former Newcastle United signing, also picked a niggle and he would have missed tomorrow’s match anyway for accumulation of cards.

ATK’s injury list has been long this season beginning with Carl Baker at the start of the season, and next to follow was star signing Robbie Keane who has missed six of their 11 matches.

Against all odds, ATK, however, have not given up hope of a top-four finish and they would look for a turnaround against Jamshedpur FC who are coming off a 1-2 loss at Pune City.

Their biggest solace is they play five of their remaining seven games at home and the I-League winning former Bengaluru coach is hoping for the maximum.

“We’ve spoken about winning four, possibly three, with a draw to keep us in the mix,” he said taking positives from their loss against Chennaiyin.

“We showed a little bit of response, reaction, some intensity and desire. It gives us something to build on. We’ll forget we’ve lost three points. At the end of the day, we’ve had improvement and that’s encouraging.”

ATK custodian Debjit Majumdar had been at fault for Mailson Alves’ equaliser and it remains to be seen whether Westwood persists with the Mohun Bagan signing.

“We don’t want to point fingers at players. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We know where we have gone wrong. There is no point singling people out because at the end of the day, we work together,” the 41-year-old said.

Westwood further said Keane is returning after nursing his injury as it remains to be seen whether the Irishman makes it to the team.

Jamshedpur’s campaign had folded much like the ATKs at Pune when they drew the first blood through a Wellington Priori strike but home side bounced back with two quickfire goals in the second-half.

The Jamshedpur outfit’s fragile defence was exposed by the Pune duo of Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho and it remains to be seen how they cope up to the ATK challenge.

Jamshedpur have in their ranks Sameehg Doutie who played for ATK and the midfielder’s inputs would be important for the team’s success.

Jamshedpur are placed fifth with 16 points from 12 outings, while ATK are on eighth place with 12 points with a match in hand.

First Published: Jan 27, 2018 20:55 IST