What is the special 'birthday gift' Mohun Bagan coach wants from his players against Lajong?

[caption id="attachment_59788" align="aligncenter" width="580"]25397827_1725439237475040_685179057_o Sony Norde and Ansumana Kromah at the Mohun Bagan ground today. Image Source: XtraTime[/caption]

Kolkata: Injury-pricked Mohun Bagan hearing up to face Shillong Lajong FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday in the hope to maintain their winning run in the Hero I-League.

After being held to a 1-1 draw against the league leaders Minerva in the opening game, Mohun Bagan have bounced back in style with a derby win followed by a 5-0 thrashing of Churchill Brothers at Barasat.

But their big win saw four players sustain injuries on the artificial turf of Barasat.

Read More: I-League 2017-18: Eduardo breaks his silence ahead of facing Churchill Brothers

Sony Norde is doubtful against Lajong and was seen doing strength training with physiotherapist Abhinandan Chatterjee. On the flip side, Ansumana Kromah is still hopeful of making it into the squad despite training through pain on the eve of the game.

Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen had his birthday on Tuesday and stated, "If my players want to give me a gift by winning against Lajong, it will be the best possible gift for me."

"It is a very important match for us. It is not a major injury. I believe in myself. With the treatment, I feel much better. I believe I can play tomorrow. I watched Lajong's game. They have a good team. They run a lot," said Kromah, who scored and assisted a goal in the last game, said.

Gurjinder Kumar and Shilton D'Silva will look to reprise their roles as Nikhil Kadam has been kept as standby to Norde.

After opening his Mohun Bagan account with a brace, the spotlight will be on Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka who welcomes his old side as he steps out onto the pitch to play against the team he won the Golden Boot last season with 11 goals for the Reds.

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On the other hand, Shillong Lajong stayed back in Kolkata after their 1-5 defeat at the hands of East Bengal, looking to make amends.

"It was just a bad day in the office for Lajong last game. They had collected six points from first two matches.

They are dangerous from set pieces. They are a well-balanced side."

Praise for the young team came from the opposition camp through Bagan gaffer Sanjoy Sen, as he said, "Lajong's 1-5 defeat is not an advantage for us. We need to be cautious and look for three points."

Lajong head coach Bobby Nongbet felt the pressure riding on his head.

"It's a bit of pressure for us against Mohun Bagan considering how they played against Churchill. In the last match, we conceded two early goals in first and second half which made difficult to come back.

"East Bengal played well. But if Sony Norde and Kromah don't play, it is an advantage for us," the coach said.

"For me, Kromah is the most dangerous player. But all are good; they are a very good side. I respect Sony too -- he is a very good player. For me, no team is different. They are a big team. They are very good we respect them," he said.

Only one point separates the two teams and it will be the Mariners who will be licking their lips to jump back into pole position by securing three points from the matchup.

Action will shift from Barasat back to Salt Lake Stadium and Sanjoy Sen said: "For us, every ground is challenging. Our record in Barasat is good. We are always prepared wherever we play. We have to be consistent."

Mohun Bagan's probable XI: Shilton Paul; Gurjinder, Kingshuk, Kingsley, Ricky; Faiaz, Reynier, Shilton, Kadam; Kromah, Dicka.

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