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Gary in race to catch up on match fitness

10:42 GMT+3 28/05/2018
Gary Steven Robbat, Johor Darul Ta'zim
The 25-year-old midfielder was handed his first start of the season but admits fitness level is not up to required standard just yet.

Johor Darul Ta'zim fans were able to witness a first start for Gary Steven Robbat this season when he was picked by Raul Longhi ahead of Afiq Fazail in Sunday's Super League encounter against PKNS FC.

The drab draw precipitated by poor playing conditions that was severely affected by the heavy rain in Shah Alam prior to the start of the match. Neither side were able to come to grasp with the wet pitch and struggled to create openings to find the winner.

That said, JDT were the team on top for most parts of the match but were unable to turn their ball dominance into something more credible. Gary was the foil alongside the dependable Hariss Harun and while the duo did well to protect the team,the JDT attackers had a game to forget.

"This is my first start after my long term injury. First I want to thank coach for giving me the chance to play. I think we did well and tried hard to get the goal but unfortunately we didn't win. It's only one point, so next game we must try to win to keep the points gap."

"Of course match fitness is the most important thing for me. First game and I played until 85 minutes. It wasn't easy for me. After the hour mark, I was very tired but I kept going. Maybe if I get more playing time, the fitness will come," said Gary after the match.

At half time, the JDT fans were singing Safiq Rahim's name and calling for him to be introduced into the game. The club captain did come into the game late on to replace a tiring Gary but there was little time for the him to influence the game.

Having ended last season with a constant run in the team, Gary suffered a blow at the start of this season with an injury that has kept him out for most of the first half of the league season. With Ignacio 'Natxo' Insa now on the mend to recover from his own injury, there's a space up for grabs for Gary.

There's a real possibility that Gary could stay on in the starting eleven in the next match as JDT will welcome the challenge of closest title rival, Perak in the next match and Gary had done his chances no harm with a solid performance against PKNS.