Preview: Warriors FC vs Geylang International

With the first two rounds of games coming to an end soon, the beleaguered uniformed giants will clash with opponents having the same target: a top-six finish
August 6, Tuesday, 8 p.m, Choa Chu Kang Stadium

Both Warriors FC and Geylang International meet on the final night of Round 19 in a clash that could prove crucial to their ambitions of a top-six finish.

The ninth-placed Eagles sit one spot and two points above their Choa Chu Kang-based opponents with time running out as they seek to end the first two rounds in the top half of the table.

Ailing uniformed giants Warriors have had a sub-par campaign by their own high standards, languishing in the lower reaches of the table of a league they have won eight times before.

Coach V. Selvaraj, who took over the reins at the start of the season, has been replaced by former Hougang United gaffer Alex Weaver. The Englishman registered his first win in charge when the Warriors beat Harimau Muda 2-1 in mid-July, but that has been followed by a dismal 0-0 draw against cellar-dwellers Courts Young Lions and a 1-0 loss to Home United in last Friday's uniformed derby.

They will at least have the services of Mislav Karoglan (right) again, after their star striker's absence due to suspension against the Protectors. The Croatia-born Bosnian has bagged seven goals for the Warriors in the league so far and will be relied upon to hit the goal-scoring trail at home together with skilful winger Tatsuro Inui, who has five goals himself.

In defense, left-back Zulfadli Zainal Abidin will be boosted by his call up to the latest Singapore team as a replacement for the injured Shaiful Esah, while Hassan Sunny appears to be slowly regaining the form that once saw him rank as one of the top goalkeepers in the land.

Meanwhile, the Eagles will be happy with their 0-0 draw against second-placed Albirex Niigata in their last game on Saturday night, although that left them with only three days to recover in time for this match.

An injury crisis resulted in coach Vedhamuthu Kanan turning to 38-year-old assistant Mohd Noor Ali, who helped his team out by donning his boots again to put in a competent display at right midfield.

Long-term injury victims Fabian Kwok and Khairulnizam Jumahat will miss out along with Delwinder Singh, but the return of captain Jozef Kaplan from suspension will be a shot in the arm for Geylang. Their skipper and top scorer, the Slovakian midfielder will relish the chance to link up with Serbian forward Stefan Milojevic, who was struggling with illness against the White Swans despite starting.

Yasir Hanapi will wreak havoc down the flanks and Noor Ali may yet make the starting lineup again, with the visitors likely to adopt a soak-and-strike strategy.

There is no room for error in this match, which should be a cagey affair with the outcome dependent on who wants the three points more.