James sounded confident on returning home after three successive away matches.
Kochi: The tipping point of a sequence of results that led to Rene Meulensteen’s exit from the Kerala Blasters hot seat was a 2-5 humbling in Goa early December. David James, who succeeded the Dutchman and has overseen a resurgence since New Year, has claimed that they are not scared of Sergio Lobera’s irresistible FC Goa, whom they face at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
Since his return, the Englishman has instilled more belief in the two-time finalists and a home win will move the Blasters, currently with 14 points from 11 matches, potentially into the play-offs for the first time this season. Meanwhile, even with two games in hand, defeat in Kochi would mean Goa, on 16 points, will slip from the top four for the first time.
Kerala tasted their first defeat under James last Wednesday in Jamshedpur but with seven points from four matches, the former Liverpool goalkeeper has already equalled the tally his predecessor managed in his seven outings.
James sounded confident on returning home after three successive away matches. “It is going to be tough game,” said James. “Tomorrow we play against a side with a lot of talent, but we are not scared.”
Ugandan midfielder Keziron Kizito, who has been highly influential since joining the side in January, sustained an apparent shoulder injury in the first half in Jamshedpur. But the Kerala coach was reluctant to give up any update on injured players.
Mark Sifneos is expected to start up front with Iain Hume while Jackichand Singh could replace Karan Sawhney.
With 22 goals scored in just nine matches, Goa are the most potent attacking side in the league, but their returns have been modest in the new year, with just four goals in the last three games, two of them netted by Manuel Lanzarote, helping his side edge JFC nine days ago.
Head coach Lobera, who has a fully fit squad, said his side would stay loyal to their attacking brand of football.