UTTAR PRADESH WIZARDS will look to avoiding their fourth straight loss when they face Delhi Waveriders in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the Shivaji Hockey Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.
Waveriders started Wizards' poor run in Lucknow as the latter lost two more matches to Ranchi Rays and Kalinga Lancers. Now, Roger van Gent's wards will be up against a side that has registered three wins and a loss.
Captain V.R. Raghunath acknowledged that Monday's match is the "most important" for Wizards.
"We are playing the fifth match here and it is the most important match to stay in the league as a good competitor," Raghunath said.
Raghunath is part of the defence line that conceded 17 goals in the past three matches. Raghunath, along with Gonzallo Peillat, Wouter Jolie and Gurinder Singh. Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh will also have to take the blame, as did midfielders Tobias Hauke, Eddie Ockenden, Chinglensana Singh and Vikas Pillay.
They need to find goals from Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Jamie Dwyer and Kenny Bain.
"Our focus is on our own strengths and to avoid the mistakes that we have done in the previous matches. We will go all out and play to our strength and hope to get five points to take home," Raghunath said.
However, it will not be easy for Wizards as they are facing strong and young side that has performed well across all departments.
They have a strong defence line comprising Tristian White, Rupinder Pal Singh, Vickram Kanth and Iain Lewers. Rupinder seems to have founhd his mojo back with his penalty corner conversion ability and has also been doing well in the defence.
Delhi's attackers -- Mandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki and Steve Edwards -- have been showing a lot of energy. The experienced midfield composed of captain Simon Child, Mark Pearson and Benzamin Stanzl. They have not allowed young centre-half Harjeet Singh to be under pressure, allowing the India's Under-21 captain to play with freedom.
Moreover, Waveriders will also look to make their Shivaji Stadium debut a memorable one, having played their home matches in the past three years at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.