I'm no bad boy, says Madhu
Suspension over, surgery done, lanky defender is all set for action tomorrow
BALESTIER KHALSA v WARRIORS FC
(Tomorrow, 7.45pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Neither a broken nose nor a dented reputation is going to stop Madhu Mohana from giving it his all when it comes to stopping opponents.
The Warriors FC centre back turned 25 last Sunday and one of his birthday wishes was to have a successful Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League season.
The defender, who made his name with the LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League, will get the chance to help his new team when he returns from a two-match suspension following a red card in the 2-2 draw against Home United on Feb 14.
Remarkably, the dismissal was his second consecutive red card in a competitive game after he was also given his marching orders in Singapore's 2-1 defeat by Syria last November.
But the man with an uncompromising tackle and a bullet throw insisted he is far from a dirty player.
He said: "This latest red card was really unlucky.
"I got tangled with Irfan Fandi and we both turned to get away from each other. He fell and it looked like I caught him, but I didn't.
"It was nothing, really. In fact, I told him to get up and get on with it and he was smiling.
"Take these two red cards away and I have only one more, against Terengganu for the LionsXII.
"I don't think it's a terrible record for a centre back so I'm not worried about a bad reputation.
"I don't go into matches looking for a red card, but I will continue playing with the same passion and aggression."
It is this desire that will see Madhu return to the pitch one month ahead of schedule after going for corrective surgery to fix a nose that was knocked out of place by Hougang United's Yusiskandar Yusop during a pre-season friendly.
"I can't wait to get back on the pitch," said the fearless defender.
"I'm supposed to wear a protective mask, but it's really uncomfortable so we'll see.
"If I have to put my head in where it hurts, I'll still do it, no problem.
"The crowd is coming back to the S.League and every player has a responsibility to give 100 per cent.
"We want the fans to keep coming back so we must not hold back."
The Warriors will take on Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow with both teams desperate for a win - the Warriors to narrow the three-point gap with league leaders Albirex Niigata while the Tigers are desperate for a first league victory to move off the bottom.
Despite Balestier's struggles in front of goal - the Tigers have scored just once in three league games - Madhu is not taking a win for granted.
"There's no easy meat in the S.League this season," he said.
"Games are decided over 90 minutes and not how teams have fared in the last three games.
"Miroslav Kristic scored 16 goals last season so he's definitely a threat. The biggest mistake we can make is to underestimate Balestier.
"We have a relatively new team but we are gelling well and doing better than in pre-season. We created plenty of chances in our three games so far, so it's a matter of being more clinical."
Besides doing well in the S.League, Madhu is also looking to keep his place in the national team as he aims to play in his first Suzuki Cup campaign this year and add to his 13 caps.
The Lions lifted their fourth Asean title in 2012 but were embarrassed on home soil two years later when their defence of the crown ended at the group stage.
Said Madhu: "I'm thankful to be part of the national team last year, but I'm not taking it for granted."
Against Terengganu, for LionsXII last year
Against Syria for the Lions last November
Against Home United for Warriors FC last month