Jamshedpur have never qualified for the play-offs in their previous seasons in the ISL but will be hoping they can break that jinx after luring Owen Coyle from Chennaiyin to join them as manager. It was Coyle who transformed the fortunes of Chennaiyin last season, taking over when they were 9th in the table and guiding them not only to the ply-offs, but to the final itself where they lost to ATK.
Following his manager to their new club is Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis, the Golden Boot winner for last season with 15 goals. Supporting him in attack will be David Grande and John Fitzgerald.
Another big signing is Indian international Jackichand Singh who will provide options and pace aplenty from wide areas. He has joined from league shield winners Goa for whom he scored five goals and provided three assists last season.
Jamshedpur have also strengthened at the back. Peter Hartley, a former Motherwell skipper, who also has plenty of Championship experience under his belt, has been brought in. and he has been handed the captain’s armband ahead of the new season. Joining him is Nigerian centre-back Stephen Eze, whilst another Chennaiyin player, Laldinliana Renthlei will strengthen them at right-back, a problem position for them in the last campaign.
Defence was a definite weakness for them last time round and it is hoped that the new recruits will hope the side keep more clean sheets.
In midfield, Coyle has brought-in another former player Alexandre Lima, and he will contend for a place alongside Aitor Monroy and Amarjit Singh who did well for them last season.
Jamshedpur fans will be hoping that the Coyle-Valskis combination can have the same effect on their prospects as it did for Chennaiyin last season. The squad does seem well-balanced and has the right mixture of youth and experience.
Whether they can get into the play-off picture may be down to how many goals the Lithuanian can score this time round and also the ability of the main players in the team to stay fit, as there are questions about the depth of Coyle’s squad.
Jamshedpur will play Chennaiyin at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco de Gama today, November 24th. Kick-off is at 4 pm local time.