The absence of the instrumental Thembinkosi Lorch might be giving Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic headaches ahead of their Absa Premiership tie with Bidvest Wits this afternoon, but the return of Vincent Pule from suspension might be something the Bucs coach should be smiling about for this crucial clash.
The Buccaneers are in the race for the Absa Premiership title, and Lorch will sit at the stands for the game after receiving his fourth yellow card in their previous game during their goalless draw against Mamelodi Sundowns.
The winger has scored 11 goals for the Buccaneers in all competitions, and his absence could be felt much more should Luvuyo Memela fail to recover in time for the match after sustaining an injury during the Downs game and was forced to be substituted. However, the Soweto club announced that they will see if Memela can be fit for the game with the team doctor Ezekiel Matebula confirming that Memela has a cut on his thigh.
“Luvuyo suffered a deep laceration to the right anterior thigh. The laceration was 4cm by 2.5cm deep, extending to the fascia, and was bleeding profusely,” Matebula was quoted on the club’s website earlier this week.
Both sides stand a good chance of claiming the league title, as they go into this match tied on 41 points after 24 matches, only separated by goal difference and trail log leaders Sundowns by three points.
Meanwhile, Wits come into this clash after failing to reach the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup. The Clever Boys Ke Yona run was ended following an eight-goal thriller against Chippa United with the match ending at 4-4 before the Chilli Boys won 5-3 on penalties.
The Johannesburg outfit last three games saw them record one win and two losses. And with the Championship title up for grabs, coach Gavin Hunt will surely be eager to see his charges get maximum points. His defence will be boosted by skipper Thulani Hlatswayo who is also returning from suspension.
Wits have have been leaking goals recently with seven goals conceded in the last three games, and Hunt will be hoping they keep things tight at the back against Pirates.
Wits won 1-0 the last time the two sides met, courtesy of an own-goal by Gladwin Shitolo, who is now on loan at Chippa.