Embattled Betar Jerusalem coach Itzhak Schum will hope to relieve the pressure he has been under in recent weeks with a victory away at Hapoel Haifa on Saturday.
Betar has won just one out of eight Premier League matches and was completely outplayed in a 3-0 defeat to Maccabi Haifa at Teddy Stadium earlier this week.
Jerusalem fans have been calling for Schum’s head time and again in recent matches, with around 20 of the club’s supporters handing out leaflets during Thursday’s training session demanding the coach be sacked as part of their ongoing campaign.
Betar denounced the protests and called for the fans to unite around the coach and the players.
“We condemn the fans’ behavior in the morning training session,” a club press release read. “We would like to clarify and remind everyone that Itzhak Schum is the team’s coach until the end of the season and we ask the fans to support the coach and the players in the good times as well as the bad.”
Hapoel Haifa has done even worse than Betar in the past few months, failing to win in its previous eight matches and falling 3-0 to Bnei Yehuda on Sunday in yet another bitterly disappointing performance.
Haifa was flying high after winning four of its first five matches of the season, but has won just twice since and now finds itself just five points above the relegation zone.
“The fans have given us so much support recently but we have let them down,” Betar midfielder Idan Tal said on Thursday. “We have to make it up to them, starting with the match against Hapoel Haifa. We need to show more commitment and compensate the fans for our display against Maccabi Haifa.”
Maccabi Haifa will look to edge slightly closer to its second straight league title when it visits Maccabi Netanya on Saturday. Haifa has won a mind-boggling 20 of 22 matches so far this season and will be supremely confident of beating a Netanya side which is winless in its last five matches.
Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda hosts Hapoel Acre, Hapoel Ra’anana visits Hapoel Petah Tikva, Maccabi Petah Tikva travels up north to face Ahi Nazareth, and Ashdod SC welcomes Hapoel Beersheba.
Hapoel Ramat Gan visits Bnei Sakhnin on Sunday, with the Tel Aviv derby between Maccabi and Hapoel to be played at Bloomfield Stadium on Monday night.