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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First hurdle

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is facing a moment of truth as they face Kedah in a relegation playoff at the Hang Tuah Stadium which kicks off at 8:45pm tonight. This is the first hurdle that they must clear to stand any chance of featuring in the Super League next season.

 Victory over Kedah will see them taking on the winner of the other playoff tie between Sarawak and Pahang on Thursday for a place in the Super League 2013. Head coach David McCreery insisted his side is ready for the must-win battle. “This is going to be a difficult mission, but it is good to see the players have got a lot of confidence following our win on Saturday,” said the former Manchester United, Newcastle and Queens Park Rangers player.

 “The boys have had a difficult season, but now we still got the opportunity to make a good season. I think they are pretty much ready for it,” he added. McCreery, who signed for Sabah only last week, guided the team to a 3-1 victory over Negeri Sembilan in his first game in charge on Saturday.

 “The development and progress in the team is pretty much encouraging, and I have watched the video of our last game against them (Kedah), and we will work something out based on that. “However, on our part, we can only go so far because it is up to the players to do a good job, which I believe they will.

 “So far, I’m happy with what they have shown me, and I hope they will do the best for the team tomorrow (tonight),” he said. Sabah was involved in the playoff after finishing 12th (among local teams) in the standings. Kedah finished above them while Sarawak in 10th placing.

Pahang are the runners-up of the Premier League. Tonight, Sabah will be strengthened by the return of national Under-22 striker Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman. Youngsters Leopold Alfonso Otong, Razid Gapar and Zul Mansshah Aling from the Sukma winning squad will also be there to give McCreery more options.

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