It is Tinkler’s 52nd match in charge since taking over from Vladimir Vermezovic in December 2014, and though this is a mere league match against ‘lightweights’ in University of Pretoria, the result will count for a lot with three points for Bucs non-negotiable.
That seat on the Pirates bench already feels like a hot plate for Tinkler and it will get worse should they fail to win.
There is little doubt that the situation at Pirates will turn into a crisis if all the points don’t remain at Orlando. Patience is already waning in the stands and plenty fingers are being directed at Tinkler, who has been under the microscope through all of the 13 months in charge.
For all the courageous effort of reaching the CAF Confederation Cup final last year, that cannot blind the fact that being 17 points off the leaders is very far from encouraging.
Surely, Tinkler already knows that such is the nature of coaching that it is such a thankless job which unfortunately directs all the blame on the man leading the bench, instead of players on the pitch when the team is moving at a tortoise pace like what is happening with Pirates right now.
It is an unwritten rule that Pirates should always be flexing their muscles near the top instead of floating just above the relegation zone.
Nobody who crosses his hands in saluting this great club wants to hear about that they are already out of the running for the league title well before the halfway stage of the season, and have Polokwane City and Jomo Cosmos for company in the bottom half instead of Mamelodi Sundowns or Kaizer Chiefs at the top.
Tinkler knows that if he wants to continue in this glamourous job, he will need to get the ship steering in the right direction – starting with the clash against Tuks tonight.