01 May 2013

Simunic sweats over midfield fitness

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
VJERAN Simunic is sweating on the fitness of three midfielders ahead of DPMM FC's Singapore League game against Harimau Muda B (Malaysian national Under-21 side) today.

Hj Mohd Subhi Abdillah Hj Bakir who has been used as a right-back this season joins left-winger Azwan Salleh and central midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman on the injured list, and though DPMM FC's coach seemed confident that at least one of the three will be fit enough to play some part in today's proceedings at the Pasir Gudang Stadium in Johor, Malaysia, Simunic already has a contigency plan in place.

"Jimbo (Hj Mohd Subhi) got a kick in the last game against Balestier (on April 19), Param (Azwan Salleh) is still injured from the game against Geylang (on April 3) and Azwan Ali Rahman is recovering from a challenge from Fahrudin (Fahrudin Mustafic) when we played Tampines Rovers (on April 16)," said Simunic (pic) on Monday.

"Param has a lingering knee injury that we are monitoring.

"If Param is playing we will use a 3-5-2 formation, but now we will switch to 3-4-3 and play Hendra (Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris) and Bobby (captain Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis) in central midfield and Najib (Md Najib Hj Tarif) on the left and Helmi (Helmi Zambin) on the right," added the Croatian.

Shahrazen Said is expected to start in front with Croatian striker Ivan Bosjank, with Portuguese Joao Moreira who leads the team in scoring with six goals playing in the hole.

DPMM FC enter the game knowing that a win will see them jump from fifth to fourth in the 12-team table, displacing Home United in the process.

A large win by five goals or more might even be enough for them to leapfrog Home and Tanjong Pagar and move to third on goal difference.

Last season's S-League runners-up, DPMM FC who led the league during certain periods of last year are in unfamiliar territory this campaign.

They currently trail leaders and defending champions Tampines by 10 points, though both teams have at least a game in hand over the rest of the field.

After picking up only one win in their first four games, DPMM FC's season has picked up pace after clinching three of their next five matches, with the 1-1 draw against Tampines the only time any team have taken points from the Stags serving as a boost for Simunic.

"Tampines deserve to be on top," admitted Simunic.

"But that game... It was our best performance against them ever. We didn't give them any space and they didn't have any chances," said the Croatian, despite knowing that the result was the third time in a row Tampines have scored a 90th minute goal to deny DPMM FC a win.

Harimau Muda B's performance is a far cry from Tampines, which is perhaps to be expected from a young team making its debut in one of Asia's most competitive leagues.

They are coming into the game on the back of losses against Home (1-0 on April 29) and Hougang (3-1 last Friday), and with 10 goals from as many matches, it is evident that finding the back of the net hasn't been a strong point.

The fact that it is a defender Mohammad Ridzuan Abdunloh Pula who is leading the team in scoring, and that too with three goals, will not be lost on Simunic.

Monday's action saw Thomas Beattie's 52nd minute goal secure Hougang a 1-0 win over Home, the result lifting Hougang up two places to ninth.

The Brunei Times

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