Wikki Tourists and Plateau United head into their Nigeria Professional Football League encounter at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium having each recorded losses in their opening fixtures.
The Usman Abd’Allah managed team lost 2-1 to Nasarawa United, the Peace Boys were beaten 2-0 by Kwara United in Jos.
While Wikki Tourists fans would have been disappointed not to have witnessed some of their new faces in the starting lineup last weekend, they would have been equally encouraged by the team’s resilience in Lafia.
Tourists didn’t make life easier for the Solid Miners, especially in the first half, but there would have been a certain level of satisfaction despite the loss.
Stanley Nwabali, Andrew Abalogu, Madu Arinze, Emmanuel Bright, Semiu Liadi and Chinedu Udeagha featured in the loss to Nasarawa United.
The likes of Julius Emiloju, Manu Garba, Maiyaki Ismail, Ajala Olushola, Joel Djondang and Freedom Omofoman will naturally come into the starting lineup in the near future.
That said, after a successful transfer window which has caught the majority of their fans by surprise, Wikki Tourists must now deliver in the first home game of the season to build some much-needed momentum.
Increasingly the importance of showing their rivals that they can be a contender at the top of the standings is very crucial.
That may leave Abd’Allah unsure whether to stick or twist after last week’s outing at the Lafia City Stadium, but the new signings have been brought in to give Wikki Tourists a better chance of overcoming the best teams in the division.
While the coach may not deem it beneficial to include some of the new signings in his side for this match, supporters will expect three points as the club’s manager looks to keep optimism high during the early weeks of the season.
Recent Form: L
While outlook of the new season has been undermined by a slow start, partly due to their defeat to Kwara United in Jos, coach Abdu Maikaba would have taken a lot of heart from how his side created chances against the Harmony Boys.
An inconsistent pre season and heartbreaking ouster to Simba FC in the CAF Champions League hasn’t really helped the matter of Plateau United.
Facing some difficult fixtures like Wikki Tourists, Heartland and Kano Pillars in recent weeks will really test the character of Plateau United. But the Peace Boys have the capacity to get out of this precarious situation.
That has continued the trend of Plateau United performing to their best when placed under pressure, and they now have the freedom to express themselves against some of the highest-quality teams in the division.
While Maikaba may not see it exactly like that, facing Wikki Tourists at the Abubakar Tafawa Stadium is now an occasion which United’s players can relish, aware that their hosts will come under scrutiny if they do not deliver.
Key battles will still need to be won all around the pitch, particularly in the defensive third, but Plateau United will travel to Bauchi feeling like they are playing well enough to return to Jos with at least a point.
Recent form: L
While Abdulrahman Bashir is pushing for a starters shirt, the striker may find himself on the substitutes’ bench.
Abdu Maikaba could show a preference to Sunday Anthony, with the former Elkanemi Warriors man potentially coming into the team for Kingsley Innocent, while Andrew Ikefe may replace Ibrahim Buhari.
Wikki Tourists boss Abd’Allah must also decide whether to persist with Semiu Liadi as Joel Djondang pushes for his first start in the new season.
Barring any late injury issues, Abd’Allah will likely go with the same XI, prolonging Julius Emiloju’s wait for an appearance in the starting lineup after his move from Heartland.
Head To Head
Tuesday’s meeting will represent the 8th competitive encounter between the two clubs in the last four years, with Plateau United registering 4 wins in comparison to 2 victories for Wikki Tourists. Two of the seven games ended in a draw.
However, while Wikki will be satisfied with their historical record against Plateau United, it is a different story with regards to their most recent clash having suffered a 1-0 defeat in Bauchi.
Wikki Tourists have not got the better of Plateau United in a league fixture since 3rd September 2017, when they prevailed by a 1-0 scoreline at the Abubakar Tafawa Stadium.