Plateau United will look to get off the mark in the Nigeria Professional Football League at the third time of asking this Sunday when they take on Heartland at the Jos International Stadium.
Both sides have struggled for form after two match days. Plateau United have picked one point, while Heartland are pointless.
After frustration in the CAF Champions League and off-field headlines for the wrong reasons surrounding half salary issue, Plateau United would be desperate to win in Jos.
They started the season with a 2-0 loss to Kwara United, as Jide Fatokun and Michael Ohanu shocked the Abdu Maikaba managed side. Plateau United drew 0-0 against Wikki Tourists the last time out.
The results only serves to heap more pressure on bouncing back this weekend, particularly with Kano Pillars, Katsina United and Nasarawa United to come in three of their next four league games after this one.
Heartland were impressive but succumbed to a 3-2 defeat at Katsina United in their season opener. They were beaten 2-1 by Nasarawa United at the Dan Anyiam Stadium.
The Naze Millionaires will go into what would ordinarily be a daunting task with lack of confidence.
Last season Heartland won 1-0 against Plateau United in their only game.
It is home form in the league which will be the biggest concern for Abdu Maikaba at this stage, with the opening-day defeat to Kwara United.
For Fidelis Ilechukwu and his Heartland boys, it will be tough task in Jos as they are less motivated going into this one.
Plateau United Nigeria Professional Football League form: LD
Heartland Nigeria Professional Football League form: LL
One of the few positives to take from Plateau United’s game at Wikki Tourists was the performance of fit again goalkeeper Chinedu Anozie, who will be pushing for his second start of the season.
Whether Maikaba chooses to use him against Heartland remains to be seen, though.
Abba Umar and Amos Gyang both came off the bench on Monday and are expected to be among a host of first-teamers restored to the starting XI, while Dele Ajiboye is unlikely to be selected as he continues to be on the fringes.
In the Heartland camp, Shedrack Oghali was the livewire in the loss to Nasarawa United and should start against Plateau United
Austin Opara and the impressive Samuel Nnosiri are both expected to be available.
Plateau United possible starting lineup: Anozie; Abubakar, Ikefe, Nya; Wassa, Ndala, Henlong, Oche; Uche, Umar, Anthony
Heartland possible starting lineup: Ezenwa; Uche, Eze, Opara, Francis; Chimezie, Nnoshiri; Akuneto, Onyedikachi, Oghali; Pascal
We say: Plateau United 2-1 Heartland
This could be a fascinating contest. The Peace Boys did not look good at home to Kwara United but drew at Wikki Tourists, and on paper this is arguably an even tougher match.
Heartland are in good form and were slightly unfortunate with the result against Katsina on the opening day, and also lost 2-1 to Nasarawa United.
We see Plateau United bouncing back to winning ways.