Madhu-less Warriors unworried about facing Tampines
Coach Steinebrunner confident ahead of biggest test of all
WARRIORS FC v TAMPINES ROVERS
(Tomorrow, 7.30pm, StarHub TV Ch 112/205 & 76.25 MHz)
They displayed character to come from behind and snatch a point against a dominant Home United at Bishan Stadium on Sunday.
If Warriors FC are to better that result in their Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League clash against star-studded Tampines Rovers tomorrow, they will have to do it without their new signing, centre back Madhu Mohana.
The 24-year-old was sent off close to the final whistle for allegedly swinging an arm at Protectors forward Irfan Fandi, and now faces a two-match suspension.
"I'm definitely disappointed, but it's something to learn from," he told The New Paper, after a training session at Woodlands Stadium a few days ago.
"Every time I'm in the stands, or even on the bench, I'm always eager to play; wanting to help out the team. One red card and you miss two games. It happens everywhere around the world."
Warriors general manager Paul Poh revealed to TNP that the club were considering submitting an appeal to reduce Madhu's suspension to one game but, after a number of failed attempts to do so for similar red-card decisions last season, they ruled it out.
"But I'm confident that we have replacements for every position," Madhu added. "I'm sure that the person coming in and taking my place will do a good job."
Warriors coach Jorg Steinebrunner dismissed suggestions that the team will struggle without their first-choice centre back, instead choosing to focus on those available for the game.
"We are looking at definitely covering that position," he told TNP.
"At the end of the day, our defensive set-up is not the sole responsibility of one player. It's up to the whole team and that's part and parcel of football.
"Players will not be available or are ineligible due to certain reasons. So you have to make sure that the player who comes in is ready to take over, and the team are again defensively solid and stable."
There were concerns that the Warriors' only recognised centre forward Jonathan Behe, who converted a penalty against the Protectors, would join Madhu on the sidelines because of a thigh injury, but the Frenchman was seen doing some light training, albeit away from the team.
Steinebrunner confirmed that Behe will feature against the Stags, and insisted that his other forwards are capable of stepping in should Behe face a lengthy spell on the treatment table.
"When you look at the last game against Home, we had five or six good chances with Hafiz Nor, Hafiz Rahim and Nikola (Rak)," he said.
"So it's about making these players confident of getting into positions they can finish off."
Steinebrunner, who highlighted that teams like Brunei DPMM and Geylang International also have only one out-and-out striker, pointed out that "everyone needs to be capable of finding the back of the net".
"Football has changed," he explained. "It's about how you mix it up and play your game."