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Football | Absa Premiership

Clinton Larsen © Backpagepix

Celtic ready for Arrows charge



Bloemfontein Celtic will look to build a winning streak in the Absa Premiership when they visit Lamontville Golden Arrows at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Wednesday, kick-off at 7:30pm.

The Phunya Sele Sele saw a late strike from Lerato Manzini secure a 1-0 victory over AmaZulu in their last league outing, but they go into this game with their tails high following their 3-2 win over Free State Stars in the Telkom Knockout semifinal on the weekend.

While he has been pleased with the results and the resilience shown by his players in recent matches, coach Clinton Larsen admits that there are some areas that they need to work on to be more consistent in the league.

“We’re happy with the fighting spirit and the response from the players, it’s something we’ve been instilling since the start of the season, and we’re happy to see it paying off,” said Larsen.

“We’ve also been happy with the impact made by the players who are coming off the bench. The true measure of a team is not only on how good the starting eleven is, but also on the quality players that can come in to change the game.

“What has been disappointing is the number of soft goals we have been conceding. These goals are coming from individual errors, but those are the things we will continue to work on.”

Celtic are currently sitting in eighth on the Absa Premiership log with 13 points from 10 matches and Larsen believes it’s important to improve their poor away record, which has seen them collecting one point out of 15.

“We’ve played well on the road, against the likes of Maritzburg United and Chippa United, but somehow we’ve ended up losing those games,” added the Celtic coach.

“We want to go to Durban and change those statistics; this is an important game for us and we’ll go for three points because we also want to do well in the league.

“It’s not going to be easy because Arrows can be a dangerous side, but we are fully prepared for the game.”

Arrows can be classified as wounded animals following their two successive losses as they went down 3-0 to Kaizer Chiefs before they were edged 1-0 by Maritzburg United, but assistant coach Shaun Bartlett says they are up for Wednesday’s game.

“Obviously we were concerned with the types of goals we conceded in both of those games, but we’ve been working hard on our defensive plays and we’re hoping to see an improvement on Wednesday,” said Bartlett.

“We’ve also been working on our attack because we need goals and we believe in playing positive football, but that means we have to defend and attack well as a team.”

Abafana Bes’thende are currently in 12th place on the Absa Premiership log with nine points from 10 matches and the former Bafana Bafana striker believes collecting three points against Celtic will be crucial to their course.

“We’ve analysed their strengths and their weaknesses and we believe we have a suitable game plan,” added the assistant coach.

“People may think they will be tired after the cup game, but they have depth in their squad and in any case their players will be motivated.

“However, these points are important for us and we intend to bounce back, especially since we’re playing at home.”

The last time the two sides met in Durban it was Celtic who silenced the home crowd as they won 3-0 to secure all three points.

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