Back in their own backyard, East Bengal will host Kerala outfit Gokulam Kerala FC in a crucial I-League match for both the teams in Kalyani, West Bengal on Wednesday.

East Bengal, who suffered their first loss of the ongoing league against Churchill Brothers FC, will be looking to get back to the winning ways.

The Red and Golds are placed fifth in the table with eight points from five games and a win against Gokulam Kerala can assure them of the top three places at the end of the eighth round of matches.

East Bengal, during the last season, did a double on Gokulam Kerala with 3-1 and 2-1 wins at home and away, respectively, which will prove to be a major boost for the home side going into the match.

Speaking before the match, Alejandro Menendez, East Bengal head coach, said, “We need to very strong in defence and be much focused. In attack, we will try to be combinative to create as many chances and hopefully convert them.

“We need to perform in a good way to play this game that is surely going to be tough considering Gokulam will have a similar outlook.”

Gokulam Kerala FC have had a rough patch in the last few matches and the results haven’t really favoured the Kerala Outfit.

In spite of team captain and playmaker, Marcus Joseph being in prime form the team has failed to put together a string of good results.

In addition, the Kerala outfit might be at a disadvantage with the suspension of defenders Haroon Amiri and Mohamed Irshad. The team will also be concerned over a recovering goalkeeper Baskaran, who had to be taken off due to a head-on collision during the match against Chennai City FC.

Fernando Andres Santiago Varela, Gokulam Kerala FC head coach, said, “East Bengal are always a strong opponent, with very good foreign and Indian players. We will do our best to win away from home.”

He also commented on the events in the last match and said, “Irshad and Amiri are experienced players but we will replace them with two players who are our assets for the future and they will do a good job.