Platinum Stars turn their attention from relegation strugglers to top eight contenders

Platinum Stars coach Cavin Johnson has spoken of “putting in shifts” and being “diligent” as he turns his attention from relegation struggles to the top eight ahead of the away trip to Maritzburg United on Wednesday.

Johnson is hoping more hard work and effort from his side will pay off as they aim to break into the top half of the table in their remaining three games.

Dikwena are currently two points behind Ajax Cape Town in eighth‚ with Maritzburg a further three points in front of them.

With Lamontville Golden Arrows‚ Orlando Pirates and possibly even Bloemfontein Celtic contenders for the top half of the table‚ things are getting tight ahead of the run-in.

"They [the players] are putting in the shifts and you can see that we are getting somewhere slowly‚” Johnson said of his side after the 1-0 victory over Highlands Park on Sunday that virtually sealed their stay in the PSL for another season.

“Credit should go to my players for holding the ball well at certain times and trying to score.

"They were diligent in certain areas.”

Young defender Sphamandla Mlilo picked up a third red card of his maiden season in the PSL in the 2-2 draw with Sundowns and will miss the remaining matches of the campaign for Dikwena‚ which includes games against Kaizer Chiefs (home) and SuperSport United (away).

Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids will hope his Coach of the Month award he received from the PSL on Monday does not signal a change of fortunes for the worse as it has for many in the past.

Davids has been excellent in two caretaker spells in charge of the side this season‚ winning four of his last six matches with the team.

They are well on course for a second top eight finish in three seasons‚ having last managed it in the 2014/15 campaign under Steve Komphela‚ form that earned the latter a move to Kaizer Chiefs.

One of the players who has benefited under Davids is 23-year-old midfielder Fortune Makaringe‚ who has broken into the first team in March and has been a revelation.

“At home we need to triumph‚ and we’ve been getting maximum results.

"We want to win it to enhance our chances of a top eight finish‚” Makaringe said‚ before hinting at the change in fortunes under Davids from the dismal‚ brief reign of Roger de Sa before him.

“We have never been this united before‚” Makaringe added.

The last three matches between the sides have finished in draws‚ while Stars’ last success in KwaZulu-Natal came in 2013. - TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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