Fandi set to deploy 2 strikers against Timor-Leste
Veteran Amri could pair up with Ikhsan as Lions eye goals in crucial match against Timor-Leste
Lions interim coach Fandi Ahmad is toying with the idea of playing two strikers against Timor-Leste as he chases goals against the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup Group B minnows at the National Stadium next Wednesday.
In his six matches in charge, Fandi has largely stuck to a 4-2-3-1 formation with 19-year-old Ikhsan Fandi as the lone striker.
However, Fandi is considering playing veteran forward Khairul Amri, 33, alongside the teenager to give the Lions additional bite up front.
Amri, who has won the biennial tournament three times, was the top local goalscorer in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) last season with 15 goals for Tampines Rovers.
Fandi told The New Paper: "For the next game, we might make some changes because we need to push forward.
"We might play two attackers, Ikhsan and Amri, because we will need goals.
"At the end of the day, we got to win big (against Timor-Lester) and fight on the last day against the Thai team in Bangkok.
"So, for now, we will be working a lot on attacking play, especially crosses, (to prepare for) Timor-Leste."
Ikhsan scored three goals in the four friendlies before the tournament, but has yet to find the net in the Lions' two Suzuki Cup matches, although he was singled out for praise by Philippines coach Sven-Goran Eriksson ahead of the Azkals' 1-0 win over the Lions in Bacolod on Tuesday.
Before the Suzuki Cup, Amri told TNP that opposition defences should be "worried" about Ikhsan, adding that the Young Lions forward could be a "standout" player if he scores his first goal early on.
Fandi will hope that Ikhsan will get that crucial maiden goal by playing alongside Suzuki Cup veteran Amri, who rose to prominence as a 19-year-old in 2004 edition of the tournament, and has scored in three finals of the Asean championship.
While Fandi will be able to count on Amri against Timor-Leste, fellow elder statesman Shahril Ishak's tournament could be over due to a dislocated shoulder.
Shahril, 34, suffered the injury just five minutes after coming on for Faris Ramli, who hurt his hamstring in the 66th minute of the game against the Azkals.
Said Fandi: "As for Shahril, it's a big loss for us because we expect to bring him on in the last 30 minutes and become a game changer for us when things are not working.
"Too bad he has a dislocated shoulder. I don't know if he can continue (playing) in the tournament... but it seems like a bad injury. We (also) have Faris who is struggling with a slight hamstring injury."
Shahril, who has also won the biennial tournament three times and was named the best player of the 2012 edition, was the second-most prolific local player in the SPL with 13 goals for Home United.
Despite Shahril's absence on Wednesday, Fandi still believes his team can make it out of a tough Group B where the Lions, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are deadlocked on three points.
He said: "We are still confident of going through, but what's important is we have to win and score goals (against Timor-Leste)."