One of the standout fixtures on match day 15 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) holds at the Warri City Stadium on Sunday.
Warri Wolves and Rivers United will provide the (football) gladiators with the excitement, drama and suspense expected to reach fever pitch.
Wolves have been top hitters in the NPFL in recent seasons, finishing in third and second respectively in the last two campaigns.
Things have not exactly gone according to script for the Seasiders this term as they were knocked out of the Caf Champions League in the opening stages of the competition.
Wolves have already had a change of coaching personnel this season with Sam Okpodu making way for unheralded Dutchman, Ard Sluis.
The Warri club currently occupies ninth spot in the NPFL standings, a far cry from Victorian heights attained in the last two seasons but club captain, Joseph Eyomife gave this reason for the club’s relatively underwhelming performances so far.
“We lost about eleven of our regular players at the end of last season and it has affected us greatly.
“This is a brand new team with many new players who have spent barely four months at the club.
“That is the main reason why we currently occupy our lowly position on the table,” Eyimofe told supersport.com.
Despite Eyimofe’s concerns, Wolves have turned the Warri City Stadium into an impregnable fortress.
No club has scored against Wolves in Warri this season, an accomplishment United will be looking to negate with the league’s top marksman (away from home), Chinonso Okonkwo in their ranks.
Okonkwo, who has scored three goals on the road this term, missed United’s last game at home to Enugu Rangers as a result of suspension but is available for selection on Sunday.
All eyes will however be on United’s electrifying winger, Bernard Ovoke who netted a double in the 3-1 win over Enugu Rangers last Sunday.
Ovoke is favoured to start against his hometown club in the strips of the ‘Pride of Rivers’ and he is confident the visitors can win on Sunday.
“It is possible we can beat Warri Wolves because they are not playing at their best right now.
“I am confident we can pick up a win in Warri,” he said.
United have scored in all but one of their games on the road this season.
The only time United failed to score away from home this season was on March 19 when they lost 0-1 to 3SC in Ibadan.
Sunday’s contest in Warri promises to be a fascinating one, full of flair and technique and both sides will leave nothing in the tank as they go all out for a win.
Form guide (last five games)
Warri Wolves (WWLWL)
Warri Wolves 1-0 MFM (H)
Warri Wolvs 1-0 Abia Warriors (H)
Warri Wolves 0-1 FCIU (A)
Warri Wolves 2- Giwa FC (H)
Warri Wolves 0-2 Nasarawa United
Rivers United (WLWLW)
Rivers United 1- 0 El Kanemi Warriors (H)
Rivers United 1-2 Heartland (A)
Rivers United 1-0 Kano Pillars (H)
Rivers United 1-2 Plateau United (H)
Rivers United 3-1 Enugu Rangers (H)
Prediction: Warri Wolves 1-2 Rivers United.