Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty said on Saturday that the team has previously won in the absence of star winger Sony Norde and are confident of doing well against bitter foes East Bengal in the I-League derby on Sunday.

The Haiti international has been ruled out of Sunday’s clash due to a hamstring injury.

“Sony is an important player but Mohun Bagan has won matches without him. To us, the loss of Pintu (Mahata) and Sukhdev (Singh) is the same as Sony’s loss,” Chakraborty told reporters.

Both the traditional heavyweights have had a poor start to their respective campaigns with East Bengal having the slight advantage, sitting seventh on the points table with nine points from six games. Mohun Bagan have nine points as well, but they are placed eighth due to a poorer goal difference.

Both teams are eight points adrift of surprise leaders Chennai City FC and cannot afford anymore slip ups if they are to harbour any hopes of reviving their campaign.

“Derby is an emotional match. It is impossible to ignore its importance. At the same time we have to treat it as a game which if we win we will go to a good position in the league table. There are no favourites, it is always 50-50,” Chakraborty said at the pre-match press conference.

On East Bengal, the coach said the hosts on the morrow have a solid backline and with Salam Ranjan Singh’s inclusion, they have looked stronger.

“East Bengal are a good and a disciplined team. Jobby (Justin) is playing well and scoring goals. The defence is performing well as well especially after Salam Ranjan’s inclusion. Overall they are a very good unit.”

Asked about Mohun Bagan’s porous defence, Chakraborty said: “There is no problem with my defence. We have discussed everything.”

(IANS Input)