Pahang supremo Zainal Abidin Hassan has yet to recover from the shattering 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Selangor last week – more so when the Elephants were the better side on the night.
Tonight Pahang face a daunting task at Johor Baru’s Larkin Stadium in another high profile match which is also a prelude for the return-leg FA Cup semi-final match against the Johor Darul Takzim (JDT)in Kuantan on May 30. Both teams are tied 1-1 after the first-leg.
Zainal, however, is counting on his team to be ready and firing on all cylinders for the Larkin biggie tomorrow although he will have to make do without his influential skipper and key pillar in the backline Razman Roslan.
Razman will sit out the match against the Southern Tigers to serve a one-match suspension after he picked up his third yellow card in the match against Selangor.
Zainal has also not decided on his goalkeeper. Perak-born former international Nasril Nourdin kept goal against Selangor after first choice Khairul Azhan was ruled out because of hip injury.
“Khairul is with the team in Johor Baru but I have yet to decide on the keeper. I will only decide on the keeper after our last training session,” said Zainal, adding that Nasril had a good game against Selangor.
“Nasril is not to be blamed for the goal against Selangor. He played well against Selangor and made several good saves. The defeat to Selangor still hurts but we have to move on.
“The tail end of the league is developing into a crucial battle among the title contenders but cannot think of our rivals…what is important is that we want to collect points to keep pace.
“JDT is a strong team made of big names in Malaysian football. Our last trip to Larkin ended in a stalemate and this encouraging for Pahang. The defeat to Selangor is a ‘wake up’ call for us as it is gets hot at the top.’
Losing to Selangor was painful for Pahang as it ended their seven match unbeaten home run in the Super League this season.
Zainal is also not revealing his foreigners who will start the match against JDT.
“There will be some changes in my match strategies and I have not decide who will start,” Zainal told Sports247.my.