Lucknow: Jaypee Punjab Warriors would be keen to continue their winning form, when they take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their away game of the Hero Hockey India League here on Sunday. After a difficult start to their campaign, the Warriors played some aggressive hockey to beat Dabur Mumbai Magicians on Thursday in a seven-goal thriller.
With the likes of Malak Singh and SV Sunil showing some good form, the Warriors' management would be reasonably confident going into Sunday's match. However, their record against Uttar Pradesh Wizards is not good this season. Wizards beat Warriors 2-1 in the first meeting of the two sides, while Warriors managed to escape with a 2-2 draw in the second.
Both the games were played in Jalandhar, but Warriors were not able to take the home advantage. Now it would be a tough challenge for Warriors to get the better of Wizards at the Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium, where crowd has played a big part in hosts' doing well.
Warriors' defence conceded four goals in two games against Wizards at home, and that's one area the visitors would need to tighten up. Even against Magicians on Thursday, the defence conceded three goals. Team management of Warriors would know that they need to have the right people in defence, and also playing in their right positions.
The Magicians were able to score off penalty corners on Thursday, and that is another area Warriors would have worked on in the three-day rest period. Warriors would also know that one more loss would only make their task even more difficult. It's high time they start getting their act together on a consistent basis.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards, on the other hand, would be playing their second home game in as many days, and fitness of their players would be an issue that they will have to deal with. Wizards have played well in home games this season, and would hope to continue their good home form on Sunday.
Jamie Dwyer, captain, Jaypee Punjab Warriors, "It is going to be a tough game against Uttar Pradesh Wizards. We've done really well in the last three games and improved a lot as a team. The two wins against Mumbai have set the momentum for us and we want to keep that going, as this is now the crucial stage of the tournament."