By I-League Media

SHILLONG: After the International hiatus, Hero I-League makes a comeback with the much anticipated Northeast Derby, a refurbished one, when Shillong Lajong FC face off with Hero I-League debutants Aizawl FC at the JN Stadium Shillong tomorrow at 07:05 PM.

“Positives are the youngsters graduating and proving that they are good enough for the League. Also the team spirit is good that will help us fight and do better in the remaining 5 matches”, added Singto.

Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong skipper Aibor Khongjee has arrived today morning from the National camp and Thangboi Singto stated that the team will assess the player today evening during the training session and take the final call on his fitness level to be part of the derby tomorrow.

The coach also informed that the team have made full use of the international break and have worked on those aspects which still need improvements.

Lajong have played several matches without their key foreign players. Penn Orji is the only foreign player who has started in every match. Fabio and Uilliams have also had their share of problems with injuries this season and thus the team lacked the attacking prowess upfront. To add more woes to Singto, Yusuke Yamagata is out of consideration because of his prolonged injury.

“Injuries have been putting a break on the players’ performance this season. Hopefully we will have all players available for selection for the Derby match so that we can field our best squad possible”, explained Singto.

“The break has been good for us and gave us a chance to work on many aspects to improve the team’s performance. The players who have been injured got some rest too during the break and have shown signs of recovery.”

As Lajong goes into Friday’s fixture the team aims to secure full points and better their position in the I-League standings. Looking at the points table of the league this season, the competition is pretty close between the teams. A good result for Lajong on Friday will see them rise significantly in the standings but from here on the team has to maintain its consistency as only four games are left to play after the match against Aizawl FC.

“Tomorrow is the day for us. The strikers need to deliver and others need to chip in as well to help the team with goals as goals will help us collect full points”, concluded Singto.

Meanwhile, Aizawl FC is having a decent campaign in their debut season of the Hero I-League. After their humongous win against league leaders Mohun Bagan at home, the Mizoram outfit are still basking in their glories and certainly they wouldn’t throw in the towel before the final whistle. With the valiant win over the reigning champions, Aizawl FC ended their enviable unbeaten run in the Hero I-League.

Joel Sunday and Lalchhawnkima provided the goals which gave their fans a reason to celebrate as the win helped them rise to fifth in the table with 12 points. They have also been very dangerous in front of goal and scored as many as 12 goals so far.

On being asked whether the boys are feeling confident following the win against the Mariners, Jahar Das stated, “We are very confident to repeat that performance but it will be very difficult against Lajong.” He added more, “It is too early to say anything and if we are confident after beating Bagan, Lajong will also be motivated to play like anything.”

Shillong Lajong gaffer Thangboi Singto pointed out that Aizawl FC play an attacking brand of football and credited Jahar Das for doing a good job with the team even though he joined them half way.

The Northeast Derby, which won’t be anything less than a nail-biter, is scheduled to kick off at 07:05 PM at the JN Stadium, Shillong and it’ll be aired live on Ten Action.