Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids suspects Orlando Pirates may load their defence when the teams meet in a top-of-the-table clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night (20h00).
Davids feels United’s strong start to the season has put their Premiership opponents on notice.
“I think that tactically teams are doing their homework on Maritzburg,” Davids told his club’s website. “We’ve played three games now [in the Premiership] and two teams have changed to a five defence line. Ajax changed the Ajax philosophy to change to a five defence line, AmaZulu changed to a five defence line.
“Pirates might do the same. They’ve got fantastic, dynamic wingbacks in Thabo Matlaba and Innocent Maela. I will be prepared for both possibilities, but I expect them to go with five.”
Davids indicated he will ring the changes against the Buccaneers, citing concerns of fatigue following a 2-0 MTN8 semi-final loss to SuperSport United last Sunday and 1-1 league draw with neighbours AmaZulu on Tuesday.
“I might have to make eight, nine changes against Pirates to refresh the squad. Because we had three games in six days before the FIFA break, and now we have three games in six days again.
“We can’t play with the same team, we have got fantastic boys in the Diski Challenge, I saw them play on the weekend, and we’ll be looking to make some changes for sure.”
Both sides have seven points from three matches and Davids expects an open contest.
“It’s going to be an end-to-end open game. They don’t defend, we don’t defend. It’s going to be a high intensity encounter.
“We had a good home win against Ajax, and yes we have seven points. But the Pirates game is a new match, we have to reset and refocus. Form and home record doesn’t matter, we have to be up for the game.”
Davids also called on Maritzburg’s fans to make their presence felt in the stands tomorrow.
“We have some of the best fans in the country. We cannot emphasise enough just how much we appreciate you, and how important you are for the team. So we hope to see you guys far outnumbering the Pirates supporters on Friday and we’ll do everything we can to send you home smiling!”