Chiefs bracing for Birds clash

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Baxter_Naturena2 Gallo Images Stuart Baxter taking charge of a training session.

Johannesburg – Table-topping Kaizer Chiefs will need to be at their best when they take on Soweto rivals Moroka Swallows in a league clash on Tuesday, according to Amakhosi boss Stuart Baxter.

Chiefs host the Birds at the FNB Stadium in the sides' first meeting of the season – in all competitions – and Baxter believes Swallows are a side capable of causing headaches for the log leaders.

“Difficult game obviously. I think Moroka Swallows are a team with a lot of potential, they've got a lot of talent in the team,” Baxter said ahead of Tuesday's fixture.

“Sometimes they've been a bit uneven in their performances but you know they've got potential to beat any team in the league.”

With seven victories from their 10 fixtures and yet to lose, Chiefs are flying high, but Baxter felt his outfit could still improve.

“In some games that we've played, I think we've played really really well in the first half and in some of those games we've not killed the game off,” the former Bafana Bafana coach said.

“I think its a mental thing, because tactically and technically we talk about it at half time and we wind them up again.

“I think its a mental thing which obviously we have to get over because it's really top class teams that play for 90 minutes and 95 if need be.”

Baxter added that he was pleased the league was resuming this week, as his side had not taken part in a competitive fixture for more than a week, as international friendlies and cup ties took centre stage.

“Of course its a disadvantage, I don't like it,” he said.

“If you're losing games, then I think you need some time to get a miracle cure, but when things are going well and people are fit I don't like these long breaks.

“It just breaks up the rhythm, you've got to try arrange some internal games or friendlies for the players, keeping them sharp is not as easy.”

Chiefs are still sweating over the fitness of Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker, who picked up injuries while on duty in Bafana's 1-0 defeat to Zambia last week, but Baxter said he remained optimistic.

“Shabba (Tshabalala) and Bernard both picked up small injuries in the national team,” Baxter said.

“But at this moment we're not really worried about them.”

In the night's other encounters, Bidvest Wits host Ajax Cape Town in Johannesburg, Maritzburg United welcome SuperSport United to the Harry Gwala Stadium, while Platinum Stars travel to Cape Town to take on Chippa United.

On Wednesday, Free State Stars take on the University of Pretoria, Golden Arrows face Bloemfontein Celtic, Black Leopards entertain Orlando Pirates, and Mamelodi Sundowns host Amazulu in Pretoria.

TUESDAY

Wits v Ajax Cape Town

Maritzburg United v SuperSport United

Chippa United v Platinum Stars

WEDNESDAY

Free State Stars v University of Pretoria

Golden Arrows v Bloemfontein Celtic

Black Leopards v Orlando Pirates

Mamelodi Sundowns v Amazulu – Sapa


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