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Pereira tells boys to enjoy against Blackburn

Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira rated Friday's friendly against Blackburn Rovers as "huge" for the club and said his boys are keen to give a fight to the English Premier League side.

"The game is a huge game no doubt. But above all it presents a very great opportunity for us to learn," Pereira told the club's official website.

As practice continued here at the Balewadi Sports Complex with the players enjoying a light session, Pereira said: "I have been telling all that one has to just enjoy the game and put up a good show for our fans."

With regular goalkeeper Subrata Paul and striker Mandjou Keita ruled out of the game due to injury, Pereira said it will provide youngsters a great opportunity to rise to the occasion.

"As a coach you will always want to have the entire squad at your disposal. Subrata and Keita are key players for us, but this provides an opportunity for the younger players to step up. I look forward to the youngsters stepping up and giving a good account of themselves"

Commenting on his team's mid-set before the big game, Pereira said: "Yes the spirit of the team is good and the players are looking forward to the game tomorrow. We have one of the most passionate fans in the country."

Pune FC's most capped player and midfielder Shanmugam Venkatesh will lead the 22-member squad in the historic match.

Venkatesh with over 15 years experience is one of the most decorated players of the country, which includes leading India during the pre-World Cup qualifiers in held between 2005 and 2007.

"We are ready for history and to unfold a good game for our fans who will be turning out in numbers for the game. Our fans know us and on their behalf we need to keep our reputation by playing well which will be our mission in the game.

"The result does not matter � everybody is aware who Blackburn are," said Venkatesh.

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