Warriors will have to fight fatigue in clash with Tampines
Champions will have to fight fatigue in tomorrow's clash with title rivals Tampines
WARRIORS FC v
(Tomorrow, 7.30pm, Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
Alex Weaver must have developed a migraine thinking about his side's big Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League clash with title rivals Tampines Rovers tomorrow.
Not only do his players have less recovery time than the Stags - Warriors played with a man less for 85 minutes of their shock 4-1 defeat to Hougang on Tuesday, while Tampines drew 1-1 with Brunei DPMM last Saturday - Weaver's men will also be understrength when they take on V Sundramoorthy's side.
Centre back Marin Vidosevic is due to serve a suspension after his red card against Hougang, while star attacker Nicolas Velez sat out the game due to a groin problem.
When asked if fatigue was a worry, Weaver told The New Paper: "It's a bit of a concern, but it's not something you can do anything about.
"So we're not focused on that.
"If you look at the schedule, we went two months without a game, and now we've got seven matches in August.
"That's the situation, and it is what it is."
The defending champions are third in the S.League standings, a point behind leaders Brunei DPMM and second-placed Albirex Niigata, and four ahead of fifth-placed Tampines, who have played a game less.
There is much at stake tomorrow, which explains why former Stoke City academy coach Weaver allowed his players a day-off following the Hougang match, instead of the usual recovery training, so they could sleep in.
The Englishman revealed that the Warriors have made an appeal over Vidosevic's sending-off.
Weaver explained that his Croatian defender had uttered a vulgarity, which led to him being sent off against Hougang.
However, he insisted that he had uttered it in response to witnessing a teammate suffer a bleeding lip after a clash, and had not directed the profanity at anyone.
"We've made an appeal this morning because we believe there's a case to be made," said the coach.
"Hopefully we can get a response from FAS soon and we can get Vida rightfully back in our line-up for Friday."
He revealed that the Warriors coaching staff would "make a decision" on the fitness of seven-goal ace Velez, who had played 70 minutes of the team's 2-2 draw with Home United last Thursday, but was left out of the Hougang match because he felt muscle soreness.
TNP reported last month that the Argentine would leave the Warriors on Aug 20 to join NorthEast United in the cashed-up Indian Super League, and the striker confirmed the move on his social media accounts on Tuesday.
Warriors have struggled to find their form following the S.League's two-month break for June's SEA Games, with two losses and a draw against teams in the bottom half of the 10-team competition.
"Everybody who is challenging (for the title) needs results. Because of recent results, half the league is in the championship race," he said.
"That's what you get when you have a two-month break - it completely messes up the momentum of some teams."
Tampines coach Sundram admitted his side will be fresher for the big game, but warned his players not to take the tired Warriors lightly.
The Stags are unbeaten in their last four S.League matches, winning three.
"Physically, we have the advantage," he said.
"But it also depends on how prepared we are mentally.
"If we do our best, like in recent matches against DPMM and Geylang, then we can win.
"We are playing the champions, and I'm prepared for a tough game.
"Their loss to Hougang was a one-off. We are focused."
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BY THE NUMBERS: 0
Warriors FC have yet to win since the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League resumed after its South-east Asia (SEA) Games break late last month. They have recorded two losses and a draw, all against bottom-half teams.