Geylang coach satisfied with strikers
New signing Hartmann not ready yet, but Eagles coach not worried
WARRIORS FC v GEYLANG INTERNATIONAL
(Tomorrow, 8pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
All the talk surrounding Geylang International in the past week has been focused on new signing Mark Hartmann.
He is set to become the first player from Philippines to ply his trade in the Great Eastern Yeo's S.League, but those hoping to get a glimpse of what he can offer will have to wait.
While he is said to have recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Geylang say they will not rush him back into action until he is fully fit.
The fact that both Prime League foreigner Robert Camarasa and Hartmann are still waiting for their work permits, while Croatian forward Branko Cubrilo has been deregistered, means the Eagles will be down to just two foreigners - Carlos Delgado and Yuki Ichikawa - in the coming weeks, starting with tomorrow's visit to Warriors FC.
Nonetheless, coach Hasrin Jailani exuded an air of determination when asked if his side had the necessary depth to cope.
"Since the beginning of the year, I've always been confident that our players, be it local or foreign, can get the job done," he told The New Paper after training yesterday.
"I have players like Sahil (Suhaimi), Amy (Recha) and even Shawal (Anuar) who can play in that position (striker).
"Of course, we would love to have Mark right now but I am confident with the attacking options that we have, although I must give a special mention to Branko… It was not an easy decision (to deregister him)."
The situation also suggests an even larger burden will be on playmaker Delgado, who is the Eagles' top scorer in 2016 with five goals to his name.
Nonetheless, like his coach, the Argentinian does not believe they will be significantly hindered by having one less import.
Delgado said: "I don't think there's more responsibility (on me)… Every foreign and local player here works very hard and I believe we have a very good team.
"Now we have another tough match and it's very important for us to collect the three points."
The Eagles' last meeting with the Warriors came three weeks ago when they recorded a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph in the RHB Singapore Cup preliminary round.
"Our last game was also against Warriors and we won that one, so perhaps it can give us confidence that we can repeat the result," explained Ichikawa, the Japanese centre back.
"We've had a good rest and now we're fresh, so we'll be ready to fight for the win against Warriors."
It has been a season to forget for the Warriors so far, with the record nine-time S.League champions languishing third from bottom in the nine-team competition.
Hasrin, however, has warned his charges that nothing but their best will see them claim maximum points at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.
"They actually looked dangerous in their last game (against Albirex Niigata) and we need to be careful of them, especially at set-pieces," said the ex-Singapore international.
"I've told the players we can't be complacent.
"It also hasn't been easy since it's one week into Ramadan, but the players are coping well and we'll be raring to go on Wednesday."
We’ve had a good rest and now we’re fresh, so we’ll be ready to fight for the win against Warriors.
— Geylang International centre back Yuki Ichikawa
THIS WEEK'S MATCHES
- Tampines Rovers v Garena Young Lions
(8pm, Jurong West Stadium)
- Home United v Balestier Khalsa
(8pm, Bishan Stadium)
- Hougang United v Albirex Niigata
(8pm, Hougang Stadium)
- Warriors FC v Geylang Int'l
(8pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
- Balestier Khalsa v Tampines Rovers
(8pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
- Albirex Niigata v Home Utd
(8pm, Jurong East Stadium)
- Geylang Int'l v Hougang United
(8pm, Bedok Stadium)
- Garena Young Lions v Brunei DPMM
(8pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)