Baxter backs Bartlett to save Tuks

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Psychologically that is. Bartlett’s former coach Stuart Baxter believes the former Bafana Bafana hitman has what it takes to move Tuks away from the relegation zone. Tuks are second from the bottom with 17 points, which is one point away from basement-based Maritzburg United.

“I think he can. I think given a fair crack of the whip he is going to take them out of the trouble,” said Baxter about Bartlett’s chances of surviving relegation.

“Shaun is a 100 percent thorough-bred professional man. He is a soccer man through and through. He has got great character to be a coach. He will be one of South Africa’s bright coaches in the future. I think if we keep producing people like Shaun, then I think South African football will develop even faster. I think we need to look at people like Shaun and all the other young coaches and allow them some time to develop. This thing of you lose two games and you are sacked is not the way to develop coaches. Shaun is going to be a great coach but I think he is a good coach at the moment.”

The SuperSport United coach’s belief in Bartlett is likely to add to his confidence in a quest to help Tuks out of the relegation quagmire. Bartlett has a tough task as he will lead Tuks against Maritzburg in what is expected to be an explosive relegation fight at the Harry Gwala Stadium tomorrow evening. Bartlett is aware that his men will have to be at their best if they are to beat Maritzburg.

“Maritzburg are a massive threat at home. The way they play, they always come out with guns blazing and throw everything at you so we have got to make sure that we contain and absorb as much as we can. We are capable of counterattacking ourselves. We got enough players in our squad that have got the speed and good knowledge as far as creating and scoring goals,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett is likely to go the match oozing confidence after his men put on a sterling job during the Nedbank Cup last 16 loss at the hands of SuperSport on Tuesday night. Despite playing well, Tuks surrendered their 3-1 lead to allow SuperSport to draw the game and ultimately knock them out of the competition on penalties. Bartlett is hoping his team will do better this time around.

“There’s nothing to do except to focus on the league and we know what to do in order to maintain our status in the league. We need to get at least 13 points but for me the next three points are the most important. Getting a win against Maritzburg gets us away from them and possibly jump Jomo Cosmos, which is obviously another boost for us. We have got to take it game-by-game but we know exactly how many points we need and where we can get those points from. The important thing is direct competition with the teams in the bottom five,” said the former Golden Arrows coach.

The following day Baxter and his charges will be battling for a top eight finish. Baxter will cross his fingers that his men put on a decent show when they host Chippa United at the Peter Mokaba Stadium Sunday afternoon.

SuperSport are currently 10th with 30 points while Chippa are seventh with 33 points. In Chippa, SuperSport meet a side that plays entertaining football with short and swift passes. If Baxter and his men mean business, they have to do way better than last time out. - TheStar

Original source: Baxter backs Bartlett to save Tuks

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