The ailing hosts will look to maintain their pride in this uniformed derby, while their opponents have to win to keep alive their flagging title hopesAugust 2, Friday, 8 p.m, Jalan Besar Stadium
The S.League’s uniformed derby usually sees both Warriors FC and Home United take on each other in the midst of a league title jostle, but that is not the case this time.
With the former at their lowest position since the formation of the league in 1996, this is no top-of-the-table clash.
Alex Weaver’s side is currently 10th in the table on 20 points, seven behind the sixth-placed Protectors, and the Englishman will be pleased to know that his team have not lost to Lee Lim Saeng's charges in their last five matches - three in the league and twice in the 2012 Singapore Cup.
But the Choa Chu Kang-based club will be without the services of 2011 Golden Boot winner Mislav Karoglan, who is suspended for the match after collecting his fourth caution of the season in their goal-less draw against the Courts Young Lions in the previous game.
The Warriors defence, which has been suspect at the start of the season, appears to have tightened up in recent matches. That leaves marquee signing Kazuyuki Toda free to venture further into the attacking third, where he can cause more damage.
It will also mean a much-anticipated battle in the middle of the field where Toda, a former Japan international, will face off against Home United’s Lee Kwan Woo (right), who has turned out for the South Korea national team. The latter remained on the bench in their last game against Geylang International in the Singapore Cup, and should be fresh for this tie.
Protectors coach Lee will be forced to make changes to his starting line-up as Masrezwan Masturi is suspended for the match but that should not have any adverse effect on the team, thanks to their depth. Sevki Sha’ban returned to action from a long injury lay-off against Geylang, while Nor Azli Yusoff is also in contention to start the match.
The visitors can ill-afford anything less than three points if they want to stay in the running for the title and will hope Jordan Webb and Indra Sahdan can fire in the goals.
Home may be the favourites for this tie but do not discount the Warriors, who are looking to move up the table and claim a spot in the top six before the league moves into the newly introduced half-round after two rounds of matches.