THERE are just nine points separating league leaders SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates and if Pirates have it their way, they will go on the Christmas break with six of those safely tucked away.
Pirates face Free State Stars at home today and Buccaneers spokesperson Mickey Modisane was at pains to point out that Pirates' title aspirations have not been surrendered yet. Their optimism could be based on the fact that they have stayed with the chasing pack, despite a few setbacks.
The plan, according to Modisane, will be to take the three points on offer tonight, before completing their mission with another win at third-placed Santos on Friday.
Whether Pirates' strategy is viable against a Stars outfit that is also coming from a win of their own at the weekend will be clear by the end of the 90 minutes tonight.
"We want to go to the break on a positive note and take advantage of the high confidence in the camp.
"We will have a tough time in the first opening matches of the new year, and it is better to do most of the work now," Modisane said.
Pirates' first match of the new year will be against log leaders United in February.
With Lebohang Mothibantwa and Phenyo Mongala regaining their form and Stars desperate to continue their unbeaten away record, tonight's match is shaping up to be an intriguing clash.
The Buccaneers will be without Lucas Thwala and Gert Schalkwyk.
Stars' fortunes have been changing with the appointment of coach Gordon Igesund and they seem to have regained their confidence of late.
"We have been working really hard and are aiming for the best results tonight. Our position on the log is a concern and while Pirates are tricky, we have our objectives to fulfill too," said captain Duncan Lechesa.