Calcutta: Form and statistics will favour Kingfisher East Bengal when they face Pailan Arrows in an I-League encounter, at the Kalyani Stadium, on Saturday.
Despite having suffered from inconsistency of late, the red-and-gold brigade are still in the title race.
At present, they lie second in the league table with 36 points from 18 matches. But a win against Arrows will take them atop the standings with a one-point lead over current leaders Churchill Brothers, who lost to Sporting Clube de Goa on Friday.
Arrows, on the other hand, have frittered away their brilliant start in the league and slipped to ninth with 19 points from 17 matches.
Also, the rub of the green has always gone in East Bengal's way on most occasions when they took on the developmental side of the All India Football Federation in I-League. In five matches, East Bengal have won three and drawn two.
Coach Trevor James Morgan, though, warns that Arrows should not be taken lightly at all. For Morgan, the tie could serve as preparation for East Bengal's return-leg Derby against Mohun Bagan on February 9.
"Arrows are a good side with lots of young players that are both hardworking and very fit. They are very energetic. So, we will have to perform to the best of our abilities in order to get a favourable result against them," Morgan said.