LionsXII's reserve goalkeeper Khairulhin to step in for injured Izwan
ROUND OF 32
PB MELAYU KEDAH v LIONSXII
(Tonight, 8.30pm, StarHub TV Ch 112)
His last start for the LionsXII came two seasons ago, when they fell 2-0 to Kelantan in the last Malaysian Super League game of the season in Kota Baru.
But goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid was full of confidence at the prospect of starting tonight's Malaysia FA Cup match against PB Melayu Kedah at the Darul Aman Stadium in Alor Setar tonight.
The 23-year-old will be stepping in between the posts for an injured Izwan Mahbud against a side that were formed in 2012 and ply their trade in the third-tier FAM League.
Affectionately known as Khai (right), the player said: "I am excited and looking forward to the game. I am confident that I'll put on a good show."
"Afiq, Madhu and I played well together in the Maldives during pre-season, and I am sure they will guide me throughout the game," he added, referring to centre backs Afiq Yunos and Madhu Mohana.
While little is known about the Kedah side, their most obvious dangerman is former Malaysia international Akmal Rizal. The 33-year-old striker played for French club Strasbourg between 1999 and 2001 and, later, Selangor and Kelantan.
Fandi Ahmad's side have already conceded seven goals in three league games, the MSL's worst record alongside bottom club Sime Darby.
Utility player Hafiz Abu Sujad's injury-enforced absence tonight will compound matters defensively for Fandi, who is still looking for his first win on the road this season, after a loss and a draw.
The 52-year-old said: "(PB Melayu)Kedah may be a third-tier side, but we don't know much about them and are taking nothing for granted. We must not underestimate them, since they will be playing at home and have nothing to lose."
While Fandi has previously said his team will be more conservative in away games, his forwards will be tasked to go for the kill from the start.
He will keep faith with the same attacking trio of Gabriel Quak, Khairul Amri and Faris Ramli, who featured against PDRM and Perak - netting three goals in total.
Fandi said: "We must go for the early goal and then build a comfortable lead. And then we can have some time and a buffer to figure out how to contain them."