With no defenders to rely on, Armed Forces coach B. Sathianathan has been forced to move striker Hairuddin Omar (right) to the backline.
PETALING JAYA: Things are looking desperate for Armed Forces as they work out contingency plans to plug the holes in defence.
Two players from the K-League are down for trials to bolster the ailing defence, which has been bogged down by injury.
Coach B. Sathianathan said he is testing out the two South Koreans.
“I have two weeks to make an assessment of the two South Koreans and at the same time I need to monitor the progress of our injured players. The bottom line is that we have to address the issue in defence as soon as possible,” said a concerned Sathianathan on Thursday.
Centrebacks Amiridzwan Taj Tajuddin and K. Reuben are down with long-term injuries – both are recuperating from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee corrective surgery, while another centreback, Spase Dilevski of Australia, is also on the crock list.
Previously, Forces could have relied on utility player Fitri Omar but the defender parted ways with the club to join Kelantan during the recent second transfer window.
“I have a crisis in defence and I don’t have the players,” said Sathianathan.
One of the desperate measures is to move striker Hairuddin Omar to the back to play in defence.
The backline woes have severely affected the soldiers’ performance in the Super League, which has seen them slip from the top-half to second from the bottom of the 12-team standings.
Forces have the worst defensive record, conceding 17 goals in 10 matches. They have managed nine points from two wins, three draws and five defeats so far.
To make matters worse, their top scorer Marlon James suffered a muscle tear to his right knee in January and has yet to recover. The former St Vincent and the Grenadines player suffered the injury in the season opener against Sarawak on Jan 18, then aggravated it on his return in the 2-1 defeat to Lions on Feb 15.
The soldiers are winless in their last seven matches and they are scheduled to face Kelantan next at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Turtles will be put to test against Sarawak at the State Stadium on Friday.
Terengganu coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said the players must show discipline in defence and get points in away matches. They will be without skipper Ismail Faruqi, who is serving a one-match suspension for collecting three yellow cards.