Gangtok: Having won almost every blue riband tourney in Indian football, the top priority for former national team captain Baichung Bhutia is to help his side United Sikkim stay afloat in the elite tier of I-League.

"Our main aim is to survive in I-League top division this season and we are counting a lot on home matches to get requisite points," Bhutia said on the eve of their match against formidable East Bengal.

United Sikkim hosts Trevor Morgan's confident boys at the Paljor Stadium, the venue where they shocked former champions Salgaocar in their opening fixture a few days back.

But Bhutia, as is his wont, stayed modest about his team's prospects against the heavyweights from Kolkata, who have just won the Federation Cup.

"Even a draw against East Bengal will be a happy result for us," he said.

He was, however, quick to add that the side's morale would be high after the win against Salgaocar.

"A victory in the first match made a huge difference for us and freed us from home pressure. We have a home advantage and I believe we can beat any I-League club on our home ground," Bhutia said.

Bhutia, who started his career with East Bengal two decades ago, however, won't be playing on Friday.

"I think I will be fit before our next game against Dempo SC," he informed.

United Sikkim go into the match without attacking midfielder Raju Debnath who sustained a ligament injury in their last match against Salgaocar. He has been ruled out for almost three months.

(Agencies)

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