Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler. Picture: BACKPAGE PIX/ MUZI NTOMBELA
Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler. Picture: BACKPAGE PIX/ MUZI NTOMBELA

Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler says the next five games‚ starting with Bidvest Wits on Wednesday night‚ are important for his side to see where they finish in the Premiership.

Tinkler’s side take on fifth-placed Wits at Bidvest Stadium (kickoff 7.30pm).

The Maritzburg coach has set his sights on taking the sixth-placed United to a respectable finish at the end of the season in May.

The KwaZulu-Natal meet league leaders Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday after the Wits encounter.

“We know how important the next two league matches are. Both of them are going to be tough — Wits‚ and three days later against Chiefs‚” Tinkler said.

“We just have to be disciplined‚ professional in terms of our application. And if we put in a good performance we stand a good chance of going on to collect points against both of these teams.”

Tinkler’s focus on the league was evidenced by the coach resting some players in their Nedbank Cup last-32 outing against Stellenbosch FC at Athlone Stadium on Friday night‚ which Maritzburg still managed to win 5-4 on penalties.

“The games with Wits and Chiefs have been in my thoughts because the league is very important to us‚” the coach said.

“We are at the business end of the season now. Our last 10 matches — this is where the next five games are going to be extremely important for us to see where we finish in the league.

“We have reiterated that to the players. Now they need to make sure they do precisely that when it comes to the matches — that the focus is there‚ they continue working very hard.

“We have to raise our game and take our game to the next level if we want to achieve things.”

For Wednesday night’s game‚ Maritzburg will be welcoming back key players who missed their Nedbank Cup match against Stellenbosch.

“Gabriel [forward Gabriel Nyoni] is still out‚” Tinkler said. “Judas [Moseamedi]‚ we will assess him to see how he is in terms of his injury.

“Pogiso [Sanoka] is back from suspension. That’s a good thing. Everybody is available barring Gabriel.”