The defending Malaysia Super League champions will be seeking to halt a three-game losing streak as they take on the struggling military outfit at homeThe LionsXII's hopes of retaining the Malaysia Super League title are almost certainly over after the 3-2 defeat to Johor Darul Takzim on Tuesday night.
Despite holding a 2-0 lead, the visitors fought back to emerge victorious and keep themselves in the title race, while leaving the LionsXII in eighth place. With six games left, the LionsXII trail leaders Selangor FA by 13 points.
If they still harbour hopes of finishing in the top three, Fandi Ahmad and his charges need to start with getting one over ATM FA on Saturday evening. The Singapore side has now suffered four defeats in their last five games, including three consecutive ones against top-four opposition and will be keen to get back to winning ways.
While ATM enter this tie on the back of a morale-boosting 2-1 win over T-Team FC, their form has been patchy as well. They have lost eight of the preceding 12 matches before that victory, with only one other win during that run. As a result, they now sit 10th in the table and are only one point ahead of both Perak FA and T-Team.
Coach B. Satianathan will hope for new Haitian striker Fabrice Noel to continue his goalscoring form, with the 28-year-old breaking his duck for the club on his third appearance by scoring both goals against the Titans. His strike partner Juan Arostegui and Argentinian compatriot Bruno Martelotto are the other key goalscoring threats, with six and four goals respectively - accounting for half of ATM's total tally.
The LionsXII can take heart from the fact that ATM have the worst defensive record in the league, having let in 27 in 16 matches. Both Faris Ramli and Zulfahmi Arifin got the goals against JDT and it could be a good sign for Fandi that his midfield is adding to the goals.
Khairul Amri will lead the line again, while captain Safuwan Baharudin could be moved back to central defence after playing in an advanced role for the last two matches. Baihakki Khaizan will slot into the back-line as well, with both Madhu Mohana and Afiq Yunos suspended. Raihan Rahman's return from suspension will also ease the midfield woes, with Zulfahmi and Firdaus both playing despite not being fully fit.
With the midfield struggling to assert themselves in recent defeats, it could be worth it for the LionsXII to go with two upfront in Amri and Sufian Anuar, while focussing their attacks down the flanks with Gabriel Quak and Faris in decent form. Nazrul Nazari could be in line to feature as well, having returned to training.
Whichever the case though, it is imperative for the LionsXII to get back on track and kickstart a winning run, with the four of the following five games after ATM against opponents in the bottom half.