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Nuttall has unbeaten first leg in his sights

NUTTALL-THINKNAIROBI, May 13 – Despite dropping points for the third time this season at Western Stima last weekend, head coach Frank Nuttall is hopeful champions Gor Mahia will finish the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) first leg unbeaten.

With only four matches to the end of the opening half of the campaign, Gor have won eight and drawn three to comfortably lead the log on 27 points, eight ahead of closest challengers Tusker FC and Thika United in their race to complete a treble of successive league crowns.

The record 14-time champions welcome basement side Nakuru All Stars on Sunday at their Nairobi City Stadium fortress, a side that ended their unbeaten run last season with a shock 2-0 first-leg defeat.

However, Nuttall who had not joined K’Ogalo by then, is not worried by past records, saying a lot has changed in both teams, choosing to remain upbeat his charges will pick maximum points against a woeful team who have lost nine and picked only a single victory thus far.

“I’m proud of my tenure, I wasn’t part of the team that lost the unbeaten run and this current squad wasn’t part of it either. All Stars have changed as well so the names are the same but details are different.

“We had a very tough outing last weekend in travelling and playing so, I’m satisfied to come out with four points from western Kenya. Going to this weekend’s game, we are busy preparing to ensure everybody is ready and focused,” said Nuttall who has lost just once with K’Ogalo since succeeding Scottish countryman and Harambee Stars head coach Bobby Williamson last September.

His performance has set a local league record for the former fallen Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers trainer where an unbeaten run to mid season would leave him unmatched since the advent of the KPL era in 2007.

In spite of Gor firmly remaining on course of emulating the class of 1988 who are the only K’Ogalo squad to have completed the national title hat-trick in a row, Nuttall conceded the 2015 season has not been a stroll in the park for the champions.

“The league is very competitive especially for Gor because every team that plays against us raises their game. When they play other teams they don’t play with the same level and intensity but when they play Gor, they treat it as a cup final so we have the hardest task.

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“I’m not interested on records but in winning games. It’s nice to be top of the league at the moment and going to the next game, we have the possibility of getting three points,” the Scotsman emphasized.

Nuttall virtually brought in new blood for his starting XI this term, retaining defenders Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava as well as midfielders Collins Okoth and Godfrey Walusimbi from last season’s title winning squad.

“It’s healthy to have competition for various positions throughout the squad, that’s how I want it. If it makes my life difficult in terms of decision making then I’m happy to do that,” the coach who relegated captain and keeper, Jerim Onyango as well as midfielder Eric Ochieng to the bench risking the wrath of the passionate Green Army had results gone the other way explained.

Gor who have already bagged one title this season, the DStv Super Cup are in the contention for the GOtv Shield and Cecafa Club Championships besides the league in what would set new local standards with the quadruple.

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