Champions Ahly hope to continue their recent fine run at the top of the Egyptian Premier League when they face struggling rivals Ismaily at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab stadium on Tuesday.
After some shaky performances, the Reds quickly rose to the top and have won their last six league matches, including a 3-0 win over archrivals Zamalek in the Cairo derby.
Ahly, who still have one game in hand, are already six points clear of second-placed Ismaily.
A new victory for Ahly will put more pressure on the Dervishes, who have lost ground in the title race since the sudden departure of French coach Sebastien Desabre late in December.
Ismaily topped the league table at the start of the season, but after Desabre's exit they claimed just one win in four matches under his successor Abou Taleb El-Issawi.
El-Issawi added more woes for the coastal side after his resignation following the 1-1 draw Assiouty a week ago. Caretaker coach Mohamed Mohsen will be in charge of Ismaily for the match with Ahly.
Despite Ismaily's difficulties, the test won't be an easy one, according to Ahly coach Hossam El-Badry.
"Ismaily are always powerful opponents and the game is expected to be very tough. Ahly technical staff members are aware of the importance of winning the three points to ensure the league lead," El-Badry, 57, said Monday.
The defence line remains another source of worry for El-Badry as key duo right-winger Ahmed Fathi and central defender Saad Samir will be missing due to injury.
Midfield duo Hossam Ashour and Karim Nedved also won't be available for the same reason.
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