Ernst Middendorp. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/RICHARD HUGGARD
Ernst Middendorp. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/RICHARD HUGGARD

Kaizer Chiefs are the in-form team going into Saturday’s Premiership Soweto derby at FNB Stadium, says Orlando Pirates assistant coach Fadlu Davids.

This might be a surprising statement‚ even to Chiefs fans.

Amakhosi have had a nervy fortnight in which cracks appeared to show as a 2-1 home league defeat against Maritzburg United slashed Chiefs’ PSL lead to four points‚ and then they were booted out of the Nedbank Cup 5-4 on penalties by Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday.

Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp admitted that going out in the Nedbank last-16 ramps up the significance of the derby for a team trying to reverse four seasons without a trophy in their 50th anniversary campaign against third-placed Bucs who have won seven games and drawn one in eight under new coach Josef Zinnbauer.

Davids said Chiefs’ form has been consistent over the course of the season.

“You have to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Chiefs are actually the in-form team‚” said Bucs’ assistant‚ who also once filled that role under Middendorp at Bloemfontein Celtic and Maritzburg.

“They lost one game now in the league. Before that their last [league] defeat was against SuperSport. And they have been consistent through the season — hence their position.

“Do you really read into form when it comes to a derby like this? I don’t think so.

“Their coach is experienced enough to be calm this week. I think his players will pick up.

“I know him quite well — he’ll be calm‚ and he will coach the game as a normal game‚ not heeding too much to what is said outside.

“I expect them to be full strength‚ I expect them firing‚ I expect them playing to their strengths.

“We have to be at our best to get the three points.

“We are not going into the game underestimating Kaizer Chiefs because they lost in the cup on penalties.

“We know they are a team on top of the log and we are a team finding form now late in the season.”

Chiefs have won both official derbies this season. Amakhosi beat Pirates on penalties in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals at Moses Mabhida Stadium on November 2‚ and a week later 3-2 in the league at FNB Stadium.

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