Preview: Ahly boss Jol eyes sixth straight league win against Degla

Omar Zaazou , Friday 6 May 2016

Ahly will be looking to move a step closer towards the league title with a win over Wadi Degla during their Saturday match

Ahram file photo of Ahly's players celebrating a goal

Ahly manager Martin Jol will be keen to continue his winning streak when the Reds host Wadi Degla at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium on Saturday.

Having won the his first five games since taking the Ahly hot seat in February, the Dutch manager will be looking to extend his run to six against seventh-placed Wadi Degla.

The ex-Tottenham Hotspur coach, however, will be without skipper Hossam Ghaly, who picked up a straight red card in the 4-0 thrashing of rock-bottom Haras El-Hodoud last week.

Despite missing the influential midfielder, who is capable of controlling the rhythm of play and getting the ball forward, Ahly assistant manager Osama Orabi seemed far from concerned with the playmaker's absence.  

"Ghaly is a key figure whose absence would quite affect the team, but we have a lot of alternatives," Orabi told reporters on Friday. "We still have Hossam Ashour, Ahmed Fathi and Amr Al-Sulaya. The trio can deputize for Ghaly effectively against Degla."

The recently signed Ahmed El-Sheikh, who was given playing time in the away win over Hodoud last week, has also been left out of the squad.

"Ahmed El-Sheikh came down with the flu after the Hodoud game, so we preferred to exclude him from the squad," Orabi added.

Ahly are currently sitting atop of the league table with 59 points, 11 clear of second-place Zamalek, and are on the verge of winning the league title after losing it to arch-rivals Zamalek last season.

Zamalek visit relegation-threatened Mahalla

Shortly before kickoff between Ahly and Wadi Degla, Zamalek will face Ghazl El-Mahalla at the Alexandria Stadium as the defending champions look to put in another fine performance in the wake of the departure of Scottish manager Alex McLeish.

Despite the unrest within the club, where major reshuffles were made in the first-team's management, Zamalek fared quite well during a 2-1 win against Talae El-Geish last week.

Having lost virtually all hope of defending their league title, Zamalek will be keen to come up with consistant play throughout the current campaign, as the former champions sit a mere four points above third-placed Ismaily.

The Whites, however, will not be at full strength against a second-from-bottom Mahalla, with several players absent for various reasons.

The absence of keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi continues after sustaining a knee injury during a second-leg matchup against Algeria's MO Bejaia in the Champions League.

Defensive duo Hamada Tolba and Ahmed Dwidar are both out with hamstring problems, in addition to playmaker Ayman Hefni who is currently nursing a calf injury.

Omar Gaber was omitted after Zamalek had agreed a €1.65million fee for his switch to Swiss side Basel – whom he joins next week.

Skipper Hazem Emam was excluded once again after falling out with the team's management for not playing regularly.

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