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The 26-year-old is entering his third season with the Lajong senior team and wants this to be his best season at the club...

GOALBY   ANSELM NORONHA     Follow @apnoronha on twitter

Shillong Lajong FC midfielder Boithang Haokip envisages a challenging 2013-14 season ahead for his side who will also have to compete against newbies Rangdajied United FC from the same city.

"From this year there will be two clubs from Shillong. Lajong is an older club than Rangdajied, so it's a big challenge for us to prove that we are better," the Manipuri zestfully remarked to GOAL.

As per the I-League draft fixtures, which is however subject to change following the clubs' objection to the cramped schedule, the first round would see the first ever Shillong derby in history of the I-League.

"The first match [against Rangdajied United] will be a big clash. If we win the first match, then our supporters will come back happily. So it's very important.

"So far it was only Lajong playing in the I-League from Shillong. So everybody from Shillong and Meghalaya were only coming and cheering the Lajong team, but now we have to develop our own fan base by putting up better performances," he claimed.

Haokip has been thus far excited with The Reds' pre-season which he claims will only get better once the foreigners arrive, while vowing a better account of himself in the coming season.

"It (pre-season) is fantastic. We're having good practice. We are starting slowly, but we have to improve our fitness. The boys are very excited about the pre-season. When the foreigners join us, the team will look more stronger.

"What I can give to the club is my 100 per cent. I expect myself to do better than last season," said the midfielder who started 17 matches in the I-League last season. "Getting more starts will improve my confidence," Haokip signed off.

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