Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD previews the midweek games of the Nigeria Professional Football League by highlighting what to keep an eye on…
1. Seven players set for debuts
No fewer than seven players could make their debut for their new teams in the Nigerian Professional Football League when the second half of the league kicks off this Wednesday across nine centres.
Home Eagles defender Jamiu Alimi who dumped former champions Kano Pillars for Akwa United; and Enyimba pair of Ike ThankGod and Ifeanyi George who joined Sunshine Stars and Rangers International respectively are poised to play a part in their teams' fixtures on Wednesday.
Also expected to make his debut on Wednesday is Dele Olorundare who joined El-Kanemi from Abia Warriors.
The Flying Antelopes also added to their ranks Osamudiamen Adun and former Ghana U-20 and Hearts of Oak goalkeeper Siedu Muntawakilu.
2. Kano Pillars desperate for goals and relief
Kano Pillars hope to end their four-game winless streak when they host Niger Tornadoes at the Sani Abacha Stadium. The Sai Masu Gida were outclassed 1-0 by Akwa United in front of their home fans on matchday 18.
Kadiri Ikhana's side have only scored four goals in their last seven games with their last coming against Gombe United in March. The match ended 2-0.
Though they have kept five clean sheets so far this season, Kano Pillars have scored 16 goals in ten games. Pillars are currently 11th in the league table on 24 points from 17 games but with a game in hand.
3. Can Lobi Stars extend their unbeaten home record for this season to 10 games?
Going into the midweek fixtures, Lobi Stars are yet to lose a home game this season. The other teams yet to lose at home are MFM and Shooting Stars but they are both playing away to Akwa United and FC IfeanyiUbah.
Lobi have won six and drawn three, 3SC have five wins, four draws. MFM have the best home record in the NPFL, winning all nine games played at the Agege stadium while Pillars have record seven wins, a draw and a defeat at home.
Lobi welcome Sunshine Stars at the Emmanuel Atoung Stadium, Katsina Ala. Lobi Stars are placed 12th in the NPFL table with 24 points from 18 games.
4. Will there be another away win on matchday 19?
Akwa United became the sixth team in the NPFL to record an away win this season on matchday 18.
The Promise Keepers ended the invincibility of Kano Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium with a 1-0 win.
Other teams to have achieved this feat are El-Kanemi Warriors FC, MFM, Niger Tornadoes, Abia Warriors and Plateau United. So which team playing away will join this class of teams to have won games away from home this season?
5. Will FC IfeanyiUbah close in on last season's club record of seven straight unbeaten games?
FC IfeanyiUbah are now on the longest unbeaten run in the NPFL so far this season. The Anambra outfit have not lost a game in their last five encounters, recording three wins and two draws since their defeat to Enyimba in Calabar in March.
If they stay unbeaten in their next two fixtures against Shooting Stars on Wednesday and the reverse fixture next Sunday they will equal last season's feat of staying unbeaten in seven straight games.
Remo Stars are the second most in-form team in the league with three wins, a draw and a defeat from their last five games.
Wikki Tourists, Shooting Stars, Niger Tornadoes, MFM and Plateau United have three wins from their last five games.
El Kanemi Warriors and MFM boast the most wins in the league (10). Plateau United are second with both recording nine wins.
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