“I am confident but they must start well,” was LionsXll coach V Sundramoorthy’s comment when asked about his feelings on meeting reigning Malaysia Super League champions Kelantan on Friday night.
The Lions have been enjoying a two-week break after they thrashed visiting PKNS 5-0 at the Jalan Besar stadium on April 17 and their hectic schedule will resume on Friday when they travel up to the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium.
The top two teams in the table first met on the opening day of the league, where the Red Warriors beat the Lions 2-1 at the Jalan Besar stadium.
They were forced to go all out in the second leg of the FA Cup semi-final on Tuesday night after their opponents, Kedah, surprised them by going up 2-0, but they eventually came back to draw the match 2-2 and went through to the finals via the away goal rule.
Sundram though believed that while they might be tired Kelantan do have the momentum now.
“They have been playing too many games and the boys might be a bit tired but I think they are having the momentum by playing games, while we have been resting since April 17 [the 5-0 win over PKNS]," said the former Kelantan player.
“It’s a good competitive game and Kelatan being the reigning champions have a lot of good players.
“For us, this is our first season back [in the Malaysian Super League] after a long time and we must get a positive result over there.
“We want to go out and win but by playing positive attacking football. If we can win, good, if not, a draw I will also take it.
"Most important is to not give Kelantan the advantage to chase us.”
The best news for the fans is that the injury crisis forthe Lions looks to be finally over and Sundram has almost the entire squad to choose from for the upcoming big clash.
When asked if the big pool of players would be giving him a selection headache, the 46-year-old replied: “ It’s healthy competition and all the boys are all raring to go and they want to fight for their places."
“I think that the best eleven will take the pitch and they will keep their place by performing, that’s it."
One player roaring to go would be Khairul Amri, who missed out the first half of the season due to injury.
The former Young Lions captain is finally fit now and when asked about his feelings for the upcoming match, he said:“We are going there for a win but a draw is a good result.”“In our recent friendly against Johor, I played for the last 25 minutes and I am feeling good as everything is okay for me.”
When asked if he is going to play, he replied with a smile and said: “It's up to the coach to decide if I am playing or not.”
Despite good omens all around, Sundram though, had cautious words for his players.
“What I feel is that, the players must turn up," he said.
"You can talk until the cow comes home but if the players don’t turn up on the pitch then there’s nothing much we can do.
“I am confident but they must start well.”