Uttar Pradesh Wizards will seek to avenge their defeat in the last match against Ranchi Rhinos when the two sides square in a round-robin Hockey India League match in Lucknow on Saturday.
Wizards would hope that their skipper V R Raghunath regains his scoring touch in order to get past the Rhinos, who currently are placed second behind leaders Delhi Waveriders.
The Roelant Oltmans-coached Wizards went down 1-3 against the Rhinos in Ranchi on Thursday, and the loss could be attributed to their inability to convert five of the six penalty corners earned in the match.
Raghunath has clearly looked off-colour in the last game as he wasted all the five penalty corners he was involved in.
The Wizards are now placed third in the points table with 15 points behind the Rhinos (17). But with a win against the Rhinos on home turf on Saturday, the UP side has chance to jump to one spot up the order.
In their last game the Rhinos were a far better team, but the Wizards managed to stay in the hunt till the last five minutes, thanks to their goalkeeper George Bazeley.
The home crowd support could well play a big factor in spurring the Wizards and helping the team get back to winning ways.
The hosts, however, could take solace from the fact that they had completely dominated the Rhinos in their earlier home game which they had clinched 2-0.
Expressing confidence Wizards captain Raghunath said: “We’ve had a superb start in the tournament. We lost our first match unfortunately against Ranchi the other night, but this is not going to slow us down one bit. We plan to forget all about our defeat and concentrate on getting our momentum back for tomorrow’s game.”
Meanwhile, buoyed by their recent win against the same opponent, Rhinos coach Gregg Clark said: “We have won a game against UP Wizards and look forward to doing the same tomorrow. The team is really confident and positive about tomorrow’s game.
“It was just bad luck that we missed so many penalty corners in our match against them, but we have been scoring well in all other matches. We are here to win this tournament and that’s what we are going to do,” he added.