Churchill Brothers, who are enjoying a four-point lead over East Bengal in the chase for the title, are now preparing to extend the lead further when they take on an out-of-form Dempo in their 24th round I-League match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Wednesday.
East Bengal's dream to win the title received a severe blow after they drew four matches in a row, giving Churchill Brothers a chance to extend the lead further.
They are at present on top with 47 points from 22 matches, while East Bengal are four points behind them.
Churchill Brothers need six points to win the title for the second time. A win tomorrow will not only bring the Red Machine closer to the title but keep themselves in positive frame of mind when they meet Mohun Bagan in their next away match.
Churchill Brothers technical director Subhas Bhowmick is aware of the tough challenges the matches would throw up but is convinced that his team will overcome them.
"My boys are working hard in the last few days at Varca ground to get into shape for the crucial clash against the defending champions Dempo who are struggling to find form. I warned them not to remain complacent but to remain focused till the end if we are to win for the second time," he said.
On the other hand, controversy and injuries have taken a heavy toll on Dempo, who have lost four matches and are now placed fifth with 35 points from 23 matches.
Maurico Afonso, who is looking after the team in the absence of regular coach Armando Colaco, has been training the boys at the Miramar beach.
With defenders Sameer Naik and Debrata Roy back from injuries, Dempo defence will look more stable. The boys are working hard to win the remaining three matches and finish among the top fours," said Afonso.