Placed seventh in the standings, Mumbai FC have been poor travellers but rock steady at home and it will need something special from their north eastern rivals - occupying a slot just above the relegation zone - to breach their fortress.

Both teams would miss key players due to suspensions and national duty, but the hosts seem to carry enough firepower to get past whatever Lajong, who drew 1-1 against bottom-placed Sporting Goa in their previous game, throw at them.

Mumbai FC could grab the sixth spot in the table if they win as they can then go past East Bengal, now in sixth spot.

With their sharp-shooter Josimar Martins - scorer of five goals in 9 games - already back after serving a one-match suspension, the hosts start favourites to get three full points from the game even without suspended midfielder Sampath Kuttimany and under 23 player Jayesh Rane.

Mohd Rafi is expected to again take the other striker's position though Milagres Gonsalves has impressed with his speedy runs while coming in as a second half substitute.

The Mumbai back four are a veritable wall on the artificial pitch and it remains to be seen whether first-choice Nidhin Lal will man the goal or it will be Kunaal Sawant who did duty in the 1-3 defeat against Salgaocar.

The visitors too would hope their West Indian recruit, the Port of Spain-Born Cornell Glen, can weave his magic and increase his goal tally that stands at 7 from nine games.

They have a problem under the bar with first choice T P Rehenesh not available for this game after representing India in the under 23 AFC championship in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and 18-year-old Vishal Kaith, red-carded for handling the ball outside the area against Sporting.

Lajong will thus be hoping that Kunzang Bhutia holds his nerve and comes out of the game with his head held high.

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