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Free State Stars v Ajax CT

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Pruijn: Big-match mentality needed

Pruijn: Big-match mentality needed

Ajax Cape Town should not be expecting any favours when they head to the Charles Mopeli Stadium to face Free State Stars on Wednesday evening.

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The Urban Warriors are hovering down in 13th place on the Premiership table, and are still not committing to a position on a future head coach, announcing on Monday that interim manager Jan Pruijn will remain in charge for now.

The issue behind the scenes is a power struggle between the two families that control the club, which is clearly affecting the team's results.

Pruijn, however, appears to have the players' backing, and saw them put up a promising performance in their last league game, a 0-0 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns.

The former club scout is hopeful that the positives against Downs will be carried into the clash with Ea Lla Koto.

The Dutchman said: "The quality of my team is very good but a big match mentality is what is needed to win this game and we must have heart from the kick-off.

"I have seen a huge improvement in our defensive department and we are pushing forward to be more competitive in the last third of the field. I am looking for aggression and sharpness from all my players."

Pruijn is, however, aware of the fact that the Mother City outfit have struggled against their midweek opponents in the past, but is hopeful that Stars' TKO run could prove to be a distraction.

"I have asked one of our technical team members to check the results of our few games against Stars, because I heard our record against Stars in the Free State is not very good," he said.

"My opinion is that there is a high percentage this will change to our favour very soon.

"Recent results against Free State Stars are not in our favour but I believe that we the technical ability to win this game.

"This may be the right time to play Stars because they still need to get over the euphoria of their Telkom Knockout quarter-final win, their focus may still be on the cup win."

Stars appear to be ready to cast aside their cup achievements in order to focus on the league, having made a relatively indifferent start to the season as they find themselves in 10th position.

Defender Sadate Ouro-Akoriko told the club's official website: "The team has been unfortunate of late as far as picking up points is concern and we are very much aware that we are sliding down the log table, so tomorrow it's a must win match for us in order to keep our league goal alive."

The hosts will go into battle without Nigerian defender Soriola Gege, who is still out injured.

Posted: 06/11/12 14:21

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