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ISL 2020-21: Jamshedpur FC looking to make it to the playoffs

Jamshedpur FC
The Bridge

The 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League is only 24 days away and it would mark another attempt from Jamshedpur FC to make it to the knockout stages of the league since the club was established back in 2017.

Jamshedpur FC made their Indian Super League bow in the 2017-18 season and since then has finished 5th, 5th, and 8th missing out on the playoffs spot in all the three seasons of ISL.

The Red Miners have had three different managers in the three different seasons with the former Crystal Palace and Reading manager Steve Coppell leading them to a 5th place finish in the first season.

In the 2018-19 season, the former Atletico Madrid manager Cesar Ferrando took over as the head coach and couldn’t bring a change in fortune as the Jamshedpur-based club once again finished 5th missing out on a playoff spot.

In the last season, Jamshedpur FC appointed Antonio Irondo as their manager and the former Rayo Vallecano head coach failed to even keep the team in the top half of the table as they finished in a lowly 8th position at the end of the season.

A new manager comes with a new philosophy yet again

Owen Coyle

Photo: Twitter

The Red Steels will be managed by the former Chennaiyin FC manager Owen Coyle in the 2020-21 season of the ISL and the British manager would be getting ready once again for a big re-structure of an Indian Super League team.

Coyle took charge of Chennaiyin FC mid-way during the last season and the 54-year old manager helped the Blues reach the final of the 2019-20 Indian Super League season. The club was languishing in the 9th position of the league table when Coyle came on board.

Jamshedpur finished 8th in the 2019-20 season and would be hoping for a similar upsurge in the form under Owen Coyle.

Coyle has brought in a couple of key players from Chennaiyin to Jamshedpur including the 2019-20 ISL ‘Golden Boot’ winner Nerijus Valskis and right-back Laldinliana Renthlei.

​Jamshedpur FC has also invested in the likes of Nigerian centre-back Stephen Eze, experienced defender Peter Hartley, Brazilian midfielder Alex, Australian winger Nicholas Fitzgerald, and the pacey Indian winger Jackichand Singh.

​Goalkeeper

Former India No.1 Subrata Pal moved to Hyderabad FC during the off-season and the club acted briskly to bring in two experienced goalkeepers in TP Rehnesh and Pawan Kumar to battle for the No.1 spot with the former expected to be favored initially for the shot-stopper’s role in the playing XI.

Defense

Stephen Eze

Photo: Twitter

The 26-year old Stephen Eze is a Nigerian international and the club has done well to bring in a player who was up for a place in Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad. He will be partnered by the 32-year old defender Peter Hartley who has more than 200 League One appearances.

Young centre-backs Narender Gahlot and Jitendra Singh can both play at full back and will be good back-ups for all the positions in defense. New signings Laldinliana Renthlei and Ricky Lallawmawma are supposed to be first-choice at right-back and left-back respectively.

​Midfield

Aitor Monroy is expected to form a double pivot with the young Amarjit Singh Kiyam at the base of the midfield with Alex proving back-up for the duo.

Jackichand Singh and Australian import Nicholas Fitzgerald are expected to make darting runs on the wings with the talented Issac Vanmalsawma playing as the No.10 behind the striker.

Striker

Nerijus Valskis

Photo: Twitter

Nerijus Valskis will be taking up the mantle of finishing chances for Jamshedpur FC as the Lithuanian No.9 comes in with a huge reputation after winning the ISL ‘Golden Boot’ last season.

David Grande scored only a solitary goal last season and would be expected to better his goalscoring records in the ISL whenever given a chance this season. Bhupender Singh adds to the squad depth with his raw pace and the experience of plying trade in the ‘Tercera Division’ in Spain.

Jamshedpur FC full squad for the upcoming season

  • Goalkeepers: Niraj Kumar, Pawan Kumar, TP Rehenesh
  • Defenders: Jitendra Singh, Joyner Lourenco, Karan Amin, Laldinliana Renthlei, Narender Gehlot, Peter Hartley, Ricky Lallawmawma, Sandip Mandi, Stephen Eze
  • Midfielders: Aitor Monroy, Alex, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Issac Vanmalsawma, Jackichand Singh, Mobashir Rahman, Nicholas Fitzgerald
  • Forwards: Aniket Jadhav, Bhupender Singh, David Grande, Nerijus Valskis, William Lalnulfela

Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1)

TP Rehenesh, Jitendra Singh/Laldinliana Renthlei, Stephen Eze, Peter Hartley, Narender Gehlot/Ricky Lallawmawma, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Aitor Monroy, Jackichand Singh, Issac Vanmalsawma, Nicholas Fitzgerald, Nerijus Valskis

Possible league table finish: 9th