ISL: Rudderless ATK aim to end on high against NorthEast (Preview)

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Kolkata, March 3 (IANS) A day after Ashley Westwood stepped down as interim coach of ATK, the reigning champions, who are hopelessly out of form, will look to end their campaign on a high when they take on fellow strugglers NorthEast United in an Indian Super League (ISL) tie here on Sunday.

According to team officials, assistant-coach Bastab Roy and Irish star Robbie Keane will be in charge for their last fixture at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

Roy and Keane could continue in the ensuing Super Cup qualifiers as well. However, for those games, former Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen too could give inputs even if he is not in the technical area.

Westwood, 41, was the technical director of the two-time champions before he had to take up the coach’s job as Teddy Sheringham was removed owing to a string of underwhelming performances.

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But fortunes did not turn for the Sourav Ganguly co-owned side as they lost six games under him and drew only once.

Westwood, who won two I-League titles and a Federation Cup in three seasons with Bengaluru FC, was in the technical area for the last time when ATK were pummelled 1-5 by FC Goa on Thursday.

It was learnt that the heavy defeat was the final nail in the coffin.

ATK are placed ninth in the ten-team points table and have won only three games this season, losing ten times in 17 ties.

The champions in the inaugural edition and 2016 have only looked downhill this season with a raft of injuries to key players adding to their woes.

ATK won the first ISL with Antonio Habas who stayed on for the 2015 season.

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In 2016, ATK, whose football squad was run with help from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid for the first three seasons, captured the title with Jose Molina at the helm.

Coming to their rivals, NorthEast are rock-bottom in the table and have also looked the worse for wear throughout.

The Avram Grant-managed side have lost their last five encounters, the latest being a 2-3 reversal at the hands of Mumbai City FC.

The Highlanders have lost as many as 12 games out of 17 this term and would also want to salvage some pride before ending engagements.

–IANS

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