The visitors are looking to clinch another victory in the return tie on August 15
“I have stated before that the young players are the future of Hong Kong Football and there are ten players who are under 23 years old in this squad," said Merrick.
" We must take every opportunity to introduce these players to international football whilst we have such high quality experienced players alongside them to mentor them. The youngsters can learn so much from senior players such as Lo Kwan Yee, Huang Yang, Lee Chi Ho, Lam Ka Wai and others."
Hong Kong defeated Singapore 1-0 at Hong Kong Stadium in early June but Merrick acknowledged that this game would be much more challenging: “Away games are always difficult especially with a vocal home crowd. Additionally, the Singapore players are in-season, whereas our players are in pre-season mode with therefore a lower level of match fitness."
"We will have to be strong both mentally and physically to compete and I am sure that Singapore will be keen to atone for their previous loss to us.
“Regarding our team preparation, the program for the Hong Kong squad has not been ideal with several players being unavailable for team training sessions due to their clubs participating in camps and tours in China, Japan and the Middle East."
Merrick added: “The Vietnam game in June was a very good learning experience for our team and the players realised that, even though we lost 2-1, we could compete confidently with a team in the top 100 of the FIFA Rankings.”
The 21 player Hong Kong squad announced today includes three players who have been promoted from the Hong Kong U22 Team that competed in the AFC U22 Championship Qualifiers in Laos in July.
“These three young players – Tam Lok Hin, Lee Ka Yiu and Lam Hok Hei - demonstrated a great deal of talent and commitment in the games in Laos and have earned this opportunity,” Merrick said.
Lo Kwan Yee, the Footballer of the Year in 2011/2012, will captain the team in the absence of Chan Wai Ho who will miss the game due to injury. Goalkeeper Tse Tak Him is also out due to injury and is replaced by debutante Leung Hing Kit.