BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
In what is a quirk in the fixtures, Kedah find themselves playing a team from Silver state in PKNP FC this Saturday in the FA Cup quarter-finals, three weeks after their last competitive match which was against Perak. The international break in between meant that the Red Eagles will be playing two consecutive matches against teams from Perak.
However, the difference between the two matches is huge. Perak were at least in the same division as Kedah in the Super League but PKNP are a division lower in the Premier League. A difference that Tan Cheng Hoe admits, makes them the favoured team to get advance to the semi-finals.
"On paper, they are underdogs and we are the favourites. But if you look at the matches they have played, they are a dangerous team. They have young players who are committed and never give up. I'm sure it will be difficult to play against this PKNP team," said Tan in an interview with Goal.
Tan pinpointed G. Mugenthiran and Shahrel Fikri as the two dangerous players that his team will have to look out for. The local duo are in great form having helped PKNP beat Kelantan and Kuantan FA in the previous round and are going strong in the Premier League as well.
Abu Bakar Fadzim deploys a pressing game with both Mugenthiran and Shahrel's pace being pivotal to their strategy. But with Tan coming up with the counter-plan to stop them, PKNP may have to go on the defensive against the only team still unbeaten in the Malaysian football in 2017.
"Their 9 and 19, the local players look dangerous. The foreign players are not bad but their centre back won't be available due to red card picked up. The fans expect us to score a lot of goals but if we can score and not concede, that's good enough for me," added Tan on what he hoped to achieve from the match.
There could be one adjustment necessary, with Sandro da Silva still nursing an injury. His combination play with Liridon Krasniqi has been a hallmark of Kedah's game this season and his absence could render their attacking prowess slightly less effective than usual.
"Sandro is a doubt after the match against Perak in the last match we played. If he can join the training these one or two days, then we'll consider him," quipped Tan.
Kedah beat Perak 0-2 in a third round match played in Perak Stadium to advance to the quarterfinals stage while PKNP came out tops in a ding-dong battle against Kuantan.