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Friday, April 26, 2013

McCreery: Be strong!

New Sabah Times
KOH TRAORE … to spearhead attack with Zainizam.
KOTA KINABALU: David McCreery wants his charges to fear no team, including Premier League table-toppers KL Sime Darby FC, who they will face at the Likas Stadium today. The Sabahawks head coach said they shouldn’t be frightened by their opponents’ impressive run, before adding “there is nothing to be afraid of.”

 Instead, he insisted, it should motivate them to go the extra mile and try to turn the table on their opponents, who are currently sitting at the top of the 12-team standings with an unbeaten record. The club side is one of the two teams that have yet to suffer a defeat this season, with the other one being second placed Sarawak. KL Sime Darby FC registered 10 wins and three draws and lead the pack on 33 points after 13 matches into the season, followed closely by Sarawak on 31 points from nine wins and four draws.

 On the other hand, Sabahawks are in seventh with 18 points from five wins, three draws and five defeats. “It is all about confidence. If they have that, I think it will be a good fight,” said McCreery when met at the team’s training yesterday, when asked on their chances.

 Furthermore, McCreery said in their first meeting (first round), they were leading 1-0 in the opening half, before conceding three goals in the second half. “This time, it is going to be different. If we have the right attitude, this is going to be interesting. “I also hope the players will set themselves a level, and try to play to that level,” said McCreery.

 “The team has been working very hard, and I think they shouldn’t be too worried about their opponents. “The spirit in our camp is also high, and we have been doing pretty well of late. In fact, we have gone seven matches unbeaten, including against Selangor PKNS in a friendly during the recent break (1-1). And I hope we will maintain our unbeaten run,” he added.

 This will surely be the match of the season for McCreery and his boys. They are against a side that is not only leading the pack in the table, but also boasts the second best scoring record in the league. They have scored 29 goals, and also have the second best defensive record after merely conceding seven goals. Third placed Johor has the best scoring record with 32 goals, while Sarawak holds the best defensive record, conceding only five goals thus far.

 As for the Sabahawks, they have scored 22 goals, but conceded 23. McCreery is all set to unveil the team’s new signing – Abdelfatah Aftha Safi. The midfielder, who played for Kedah last season, will be the main man in the middle of the park for the host. He is likely to play alongside Radzi Mohd Hussin, who comes in for the injured Rosdin Wasli, with youngster Didie Arizal Ibrahim starting from the bench.

 Shahrudin Yakup will be on the right of midfield, while Alto Linus on the left. At the backline, Julamri Muhamad will start on the left, while Shahrul Azhar Ture on the right with Hardy Parsi and Mohd Hafizulldin, who comes in for the suspended Shahril Faizal, at the heart of defence. In attack, McCreery is to stick to his striker-in-chief Koh Traore and the veteran Zainizam Marjan.

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