Having seen a two-game winning streak halted by a disappointing home draw last time out, Fandi Ahmad will be keen for his charges to get back to winning ways in SelayangThe LionsXII hit the road again in their next Malaysia Super League clash, where they will take on Sime Darby FC in Selayang on Saturday.
Home did not prove to be much of a comfort in their last outing a week ago, when they were held to a 1-1 draw by T-Team FC. The defending champions created enough chances to win the game twice over but squandered most of them, with coach Fandi Ahmad blasting their profligacy afterward.
He will hope that his side can fare better against the second-worst defence in the league, with the newly-promoted side having leaked in 15 goals in 10 games. Khairul Amri, the team's top-scorer with four goals, will be looking to end a four-game goal drought, while Shahfiq Ghani is yet to score this season. Centre-back Safuwan Baharudin is next on the charts with two goals and will make it three games in a row if he nets again.
Striker Sufian Anuar is still out with a hip flexor injury, while Hafiz Sujad picked up a hamstring strain in their last match. There is some good news, with winger Nazrul Nazari set to return to the side to bolster their offensive options, while Gabriel Quak should be in the squad as well after being left out last time out.
Sime Darby was founded in 2010 and this is their first season in the top-flight, after they finished runners-up in the Premier League last season. They sit eighth in the table, three places and two points behind the LionsXII, and have won three of their last four matches.
Ismail Zakaria's men will rue the absence of midfielder Dilshod Sharofetdinov, with the former Uzbekistan Under-23 international ruled out after being dismissed in their last game against ATM FA, which they won 3-2.
Both ex-Syrian international Mahmoud Amnah and Ghanaian centre-back William Mensah netted their first goals for the club in that game, and the foreign duo will be key to the hosts' chances of victory. The LionsXII will have to keep a tight leash on Fazrul Hazli Kadri and Fahrul Razi Kamaruddin, who have three and two goals respectively.
With almost half the season gone, the LionsXII will have to start getting more points on board if they harbour hopes of retaining the title, and Sime Darby are opponents they should be seeing off.