Having played eight matches so far, the Bulawayo giants top the log standings with 22 points, five more than their old nemesis Dynamos whom they meet in a potentially stormy duel at the same venue on Wednesday.
Highlanders would be missing the services of suspended Eric Mudzingwa who was transformed into a central defender by coach, Kelvin Kaindu.
Either Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu or Tendai Ndlovu is likely to step in for the Mudzingwa.
Kaindu sounded unfazed at the prospect of missing the inspirational Mudzingwa and believes his replacements would be fit to combat the threat posed by Chicken Inn.
“We have been training hard for this game so we are ready for battle. We will have to find a replacement for Eric, which means we are not crying over his absence. We are feeling no pressure at the top so everything is fine,” Kaindu said.
“Two or three of my players have minor injuries but have been doing some light training,” Kaindu added.
With midfielders Simon Munawa, Mthulisi Maphosa and Milton Ncube, and winger Graham Ncube providing a solid platform for goals for Highlanders, Chicken Inn could be facing a fix this afternoon.
Chicken Inn coach Adam Ndlovu has already bemoaned the absence of his captain and central defender Hebert Dick who is suspended.
“It is a big blow playing without Hebert because he is an inspirational figure in our dressing room. However, I feel we are well-prepared for Highlanders,” said Ndlovu.
A Highlanders legend himself, Ndlovu is well aware of Bosso’s status as one of the grandest football institutions in the country but would not let his charges get intimidated by the hostile environment inside Barbourfields.
“I know that Bosso are winning matches which has restored confidence in their fans who are now filling their stadium. This is a derby which obviously would be a tough game. My boys are now used to playing before huge crowds so they just have to go into the match with the right attitude,” said Ndlovu.
Midfielder Danny Phiri, Warriors rookie Kuda Mahachi as well as goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni could carry the day for Chicken Inn.
Elsewhere, Hardbody host rejuvenated CAPS United at Ascot Stadium.
After enduring a torrid start to the season, the Green Machine, who are at mid-table, arrive in Gweru spurred by their run of three consecutive wins.
It is the battle of the miners at the Colliery as Hwange and Shabanie Mine collide, with the hosts missing the services of Aaron Katebe, who is with the Zambian national team for the World Cup qualifiers against Ghana. The two sides are separated by only a point but Shabanie are however on top of Hwange who have in their side striker Francisco Zekumbawire and captain Rodwell Chinyengetere who were recently called to train with the Warriors.
Shabanie have only lost once on the road this season while Hwange are yet to lose at home with their last match being a 5-1 thumping of Monomotapa on home turf.
The league’s leading goal-scorer, Nelson Mazivisa, who boasts of seven goals, will be carrying the asbestos miners’ hopes.
Monomotapa Vs WWS Rangers (Rufaro), Highlanders vs Chicken Inn (B/F), Buffaloes vs Gunners (Sakubva), Hwange vs Shabanie (Colliery), Hardbody vs CAPS United (Ascot)