Absa Premiership

Santos ready to upset the odds

2012-02-23 20:19
Duncan Crowie (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Santos' resurgent form will bring the fire back to the Cape Derby, according to coach Duncan Crowie, as his side prepares for their often-explosive Premiership meeting with Ajax Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.

"The team is shaping up well, which gives us hope," Crowie said on Thursday.

"You can see the fire in the eyes of the players at training.

"Our morale is boosted by the (3-1) win over Bidvest Wits on the weekend."

The clash between the two outfits has always been entertaining and packed with aggression - more so when there is something at stake.

Fifth-placed Ajax (30 points) could end the weekend second on the log with a win.

Santos, who are in 12th position with 15 points, can ease further away from the relegation threat with the addition of three points.

Compared with the team that lost 1-0 to Ajax at Athlone Stadium earlier in the season, this will be a much different Santos side.

Crowie has infused a more enterprising style of play into the team as they look to surge forward more, to contrast the style preferred by his predecessor Boebie Solomons.

This bodes well for the side's strikers Erwin Isaacs, Vuyisile Wana and beanpole Eleazar Rodgers.

The mercurial but crafty Gert Schalkwyk should also be more effective from midfield.

"We have put a lot on emphasis in some things that are proving to be a success so far," said Crowie.

"Previously we didn't have enough numbers in the box, and we worked on that during the season break.

"(Midfielders) Gert and Matty Pattison have been brilliant for us since joining in January.

"Nasief Morris, as well, has added confidence and composure at the back."

Crowie said that he had planned carefully for the trip to the Urban Warriors' territory.

Ajax welcomes captain and midfield anchorman Granwald Scott back into contention after suspension.

"I know how they play and they will come with the usual Ajax philosophy," said Crowie.

"We have prepared thoroughly for the match."

Not available for the People's Team is industrious defender Zairon Van Beulen, who is ruled out for the remainder of the season after twisting his knee.

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