I-League powerhouses East Bengal have already got past defending champions and arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the league table, and on Tuesday, the Red-and-Golds will be looking to moving atop the table.
East Bengal take on Shillong Lajong in a midweek fixture of the I-League at the Barasat Stadium in West Bengal.
Currently seated second on the table after three wins from six games, East Bengal are just a point away from leaders Bengaluru FC, and the Kolkata giants will be expected to continue their good run of form. The Red and Golds come into this game at the back of a 2-0 victory against newcomers Aizawl FC last week.
"We don't wait for a chance here or there, we are in for the long run. My boys are mentally prepared and of course we have to play well against Lajong," East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya was quoted by Goal. "We have analysed their [Shillong Lajong's] performance and the players also have their thoughts regarding them. We know what style of play to adopt and we are confident."
Shillong Lajong are seated fifth in the table, following two wins from four games. The North-East side may have bagged narrow wins over Goan sides Salgaocar and Sporting Clube de Goa in their previous two fixtures, their defence cannot be underestimated.
Although they are missing the firebrand Cornell Glen upfront, who Lajong sold to Mohun Bagan before the start of the season, the likes of Fabio Pena, Penn Orji and Uilliams Souza will be vital for the away side in the attacking third. Aibor Khongjee is also set to feature with new recruit Yusuke Yamagata in the heart of the defence for Lajong.
"We need to approach the game with a winning mentality. The team has improved in attack and defence but not conceding will be the key tomorrow," Lajong coach Thangboi Singto was quoted by the official I-League site. "It will be a very tough match as their [East Bengal's] Indian bench strength is very strong. No doubt, it will be a challenging match."
For East Bengal, Chennaiyin FC hotshot Bernard Mendy remains the man of the moment once more. The Frenchman scored his debut I-League goal in his debut game of the league itself, and on Tuesday, Mendy is expected to remain a key player for the side once again.
"I have said it before. He [Mendy] is a utility man. We will field him wherever we think it is necessary," East Bengal coach Bhattacharya added. "He gives me a lot of options and his intelligent style of play makes my job easier. He is a team man."
East Bengal will be without midfield maestro Mehtab Hossain, but Harmanjot Khabra as well as Cavin Lobo are expected to return.
Where to watch live
East Bengal vs Shillong Lajong is scheduled to kick-off at 7:05 pm IST (6:35 pm PST, 1:35 pm GMT) on Tuesday, 9 February.
In India (and the rest of the Asian subcontinent), viewers can catch the game on Ten Action. Online streaming will be available on tensports.com.
Viewers in Germany, Austria, Russia, Switzerland and Gerogia can catch up with the game with online streaming will be available on LAOLA1.
Other countries can follow the I-League live scores on the I-League twitter handle.