STEVE Kean is expecting a tough challenge when DPMM FC entertain Singapore League (S-League) title contenders Warriors FC tonight in a game in which entrance will be free.
S-League DPMM FC, who are on 46 points, will be looking for victory after three-time defending champions and second placed Tampines Rovers cut the lead at the top to only three points - while the trio of Warriors FC, Albirex Niigata (S) FC and Home United FC are all locked on 41 points.
Balestier Khalsa are only a further two points back after a Goran Ljubojevic brace lifted them to a 2-0 win over Albirex at the Toa Payoh Stadium in Singapore last night.
Brunei’s only professional team have been cut short on firepower with league top scorer Rodrigo Tosi, who has 22 goals to his name, serving a one-game suspension for his fourth yellow card of the season.
DPMM FC head coach Kean knows it will be an uphill task but believes his charges can produce a positive result at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
“It will be another difficult match. Rodrigo is an influential player and is big part of why we have done well this year,” said Kean in a post-training interview with The Brunei Times at the match venue last night.
“But it is unfortunate that players pick up suspensions at this stage of the season. I didn’t pick my side just the day before but we have been working hard for the past 10 days.
“They are looking really sharp and energetic. This is an opportunity for someone else to step up and they have to enjoy taking part in the games with the pressure that goes with it.
“I’m confident after seeing the way we trained and we have done a lot of work on aspects that were not well in last game
“Preparations have been good and we are ready for this game,” continued the Scotsman.
DPMM FC are coming off a 3-2 loss at the hands of Home United in the second leg of the Singapore Cup semi-finals on Friday, the result ending their chance of a treble this season.
Kean has assessed the weaknesses and is hoping they will be able to do better defensively.
“Defensively we have really been working on a lot of set plays. Against Home we conceded five from set plays from the league match to the Singapore Cup,” said the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
“As that happens we lose a bit of confidence but we have tightened up. I don’t think we can have any lapses in concentration against a team like the Warriors.
“They have got good height, good technical delivery and set plays will be very important,” continued Kean.
Warriors head coach Alex Weaver is focused and knows that they cannot afford another defeat after coming off a 1-0 loss at the hands of Balestier Khalsa FC on Wednesday.
“We need the three points for a chance to win the league,” said Weaver.
“We were quite unfortunate in the last game as we had a goal disallowed even though it was onside, and we had a penalty decision turned down and one against us.
“It was very harsh for us and I believe Balestier fans would agree. The players performed well and we are expecting to keep the same standard tomorrow (Tuesday night),” he added.
“DPMM FC are a good team, but we have beaten them before in the season and we will try to do it again.
“Rodrigo’s absence is a big loss for Brunei but we know Steve Kean will organise his team very well. We’ll be ready and looking forward to it,” he concluded.
The Warriors will be missing defender Zulfadli Zainal Abidin and midfielder Thomas Beattie due to suspension but they will welcome back the duo of forward Miroslav Pejic and defender Ismail Yunos from suspension.
Kick off is at 8.15pm and fans are encouraged to wear red.