Abu Dhabi: Al Wahda will be looking to carry their fine run of form in the AFC Champions League into the Arabian Gulf League when they host Ajman on Saturday at 10pm.
The Clarets, in their last league outing, defeated Al Jazira 3-1 and have swelled their points tally to 40 but they occupy fifth spot and trail Al Jazira by one point.
With a place in next season’s Champions League at stake, they will have to maintain their winning run to finish in the top three.
“Ajman is doing extremely well this year and it is a good team and very well organised,” said Al Wahda coach Henk Ten Cate.
“It will be extremely difficult to win against these teams. They will defend with a lot of bodies and will try to counter-attack.
“It is always difficult to play after a very good game that helped us qualify for a play-off in Champions League. We want to continue winning and we want to be third and for that, we have to win the next three games. I really hope we can,”
Ten Cate is not keen to disturb the winning combination but asserted that he will not risk some of the key players.
“Slight niggles are always going to be there as we are getting to the end of the season,” he said. “However, everyone wants to keep playing and that is good. Yes, there are a few key matches and I will be keeping that in mind. However, everyone is fighting for a place in the side which is good.”
Al Wahda’s opponents Ajman, on the other hand, will be looking for redemption as they had suffered a 2-1 defeat to Al Wasl in their last outing and remain in seventh place on 31 points.
In another important clash, Al Ain will be taking on Dibba. It won’t be an easy outing for the Boss as Dibba are on the up. The biggest plus came in the last outing when they did a huge favour to second-placed Shabab Al Ahli by holding league leaders Sharjah to a 2-2 draw to improve their tally to 13 points.
Al Ain are clearly on a downward spiral and have remained winless for the past five games. They dropped to fourth place on 40 points and are in serious danger of slipping further.
Any more slip-ups would keep them out of the Champions League next season. Coach Juan Carlos Garrido said: “The team is aware of the importance of winning against Dibba. Our goal currently is to qualify for the AFC Champions League next season and for that we need to advance our position in the Arabian Gulf League standings.
“Everyone needs to put their best efforts to achieve that goal because our task will not be easy, especially since the opponent is fighting to stay in the Arabian Gulf League.”
Garrido also revealed that his team is plagued with injury problems and the latest one joining the list was midfielder Ahmed Barman.
“I consider myself unlucky because I missed important players,” he added. “We will wait until the last minute to find out the extent of the readiness of the players. I hope everyone on the field will show the fighting spirit and challenge in order to return the positive outcome.”