Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic revealed the reasons behind securing the signature of midfielder Danish Farooq from Bengaluru FC on the final day of the January transfer window and also provided an update on defender Marko Leskovic’s fitness. 

The yellow army acquired Farooq on Tuesday to bolster their squad ahead of the run-in but Vukomanovic suggested that the Indian has been on their radar for quite some time. 

“Danish was on our wishlist since last year. He is a quality player and the character he possesses and the mentality he possesses fits perfectly at Kerala Blasters FC. That's why we wanted to sign this type of player,” said the Serbian at the pre-match press conference ahead of the East Bengal FC match. 

“We lost Puitea who wanted to go to another team and signing Danish was just like finding a piece in the puzzle. We can play with Indians in midfield or with foreigners too, it's just that we want to maintain the characteristic of Kerala Blasters FC and I feel all the fans will appreciate Danish as a KBFC player,” he added. 

Vukomanovic also played down claims that Farooq’s signing would allow him to play three foreign players in attack, but the head coach said he prefers to remain flexible with his plans. 

“Adrian Luna playing in the middle in the last match was just a choice according to our opponent. Luna is a quality player and he will do the job in whichever position you put him,” he said. 

“We are one of the few or only teams at the top end of the league without playing a foreign midfielder and we reached the final,” he added. 

Kerala Blasters FC will look to inch closer to a playoff spot with a win over East Bengal FC on Friday but they will have to do it without defender Marko Leskovic who still continues to fully recover from his injury. 

“We will not start Leskovic on Friday. We are aware of where we are in the competition. If everything goes to plan we would like to compete in the playoffs and we are always thinking long-term,” Vukomanovic said. 

“It would be unreasonable to sacrifice him and make his injury worse and lose him for a longer duration. So, we will give him one more match to fully recover,” he added. 

The Serbian also confirmed that goalkeeper Prabsukhan Singh Gill will miss out due to fever and cold and hasn’t travelled with the squad while the rest of his team are fit to feature. 

The Blasters need seven points from their final five matches to guarantee a place in the knockout rounds and would do with three in Kolkata on Friday.