Neroca FC would look to bounce back from their opening match defeat when they take on Gokulam Kerala FC in an I-League encounter on Wednesday.

Neroca, who surprised one and all by finishing runners-up last season, lost 0-2 to East Bengal on October 27.

Neroca have so far won both their I-League head-to-head encounters against Gokulam but the visitors go into the game with a draw against Mohun Bagan in their opening encounter which should give them more confidence than their hosts.

The Imphal-based side’s Japanese winger Katsumi Yusa, a key part of Spanish coach Manuel Fraile’s plans for this season, will miss the game due to an injury.
But, Liberian centre back Varney Kallon will be back from injury to add more solidity to the Neroca defence.

The combination of Nigerian Felix Odili Chidi and Subhash Singh were controlled well by the East Bengal defenders and they would have to perform better on Wednesday for Neroca to get a positive result.

Fraile hinted at further changes to the starting line-up.

“Our priority is not to repeat the mistakes from the last match against East Bengal. Gokulam FC play strong football and we respect them but we need three points from this match. The players must enjoy the advantage of playing at home. A new formation or a new strategy might help us to get the result against the opponents,” he said at the pre-match media conference.

The side from Kerala built up pressure in the second half against Mohun Bagan. An own goal from Mohun Bagan defender Kim Kima kept Gokulam’s record unblemished against the Kolkata side.

Coach Bino George sounded positive about Wednesday’s match at Khuman Lampak but was also aware of their record against Neroca.

“Neroca are playing good, with good ball possession and good speed as well. We also have good players and unlike last time good bench strength as well. We are coming after a tough match against Mohun Bagan in Calicut. We will rectify the mistakes from last season and win points here,” he said.