JOHOR BARU: Terengganu began their Premier I campaign disastrously – losing 0-4 to Perlis on Feb 15.
But they made up for it with a 3-1 win over Premier II outfit Kuala Lumpur in the FA Cup first leg match in Cheras four days later.
Tonight, in the return leg match at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, the Turtles believe they are ready to finish off Kuala Lumpur and set up a second round date with Sabah.
Even Terengganu manager Che Mat Jusoh was buoyant about their chances of regaining the Cup they won in 2000.
“I have faith in the team. We can only get better from now on. It was a disastrous start to the season but I believe we have overcome it judging from our performance against KL in the FA Cup (first-leg),” said Che Mat from Kuala Terengganu.
Terengganu are also hoping another convincing win over the Hawks tonight would put them in good stead for this Saturday's Premier I East Coast derby against Pahang at home – a match that has already drawn a lot of attention.
The match against Pahang will see the Turtles welcoming back their prodigal sons – internationals Hairuddin Omar, Rosdi Talib and Subri Sulong – who turned their backs on their homestate to play for the Elephants this year after running foul with the management over late payment of salaries.
Terengganu coach Tajuddin Noor will have a near full-strength side tonight and he is confident that the players will take off from where they left off against KL in the first-leg.
“The newcomers suffered from stage fright against Perlis. Many of them were playing in the Premier I for the first time. We were not at full strength in Kangar,” said Tajuddin.
“The same players performed creditably against KL and I expect more from them tomorrow (tonight).
“They have overcome the jitters. Nevertheless, we are not expecting an easy time against KL.
“The City boys are unbeaten in the three Premier II matches they have played so far. They even beat Brunei 3-2 at home and this is a clear signal that we will have to be at our best to advance to the second round.”
Meanwhile, Che Mat said they were in no hurry to decide on their second foreign player after Patron Akakpo failed to get the nod from the FA of Malaysia (FAM) to don Terengganu colours for the new season.
Argentine Silveo Romero, brother of Penang's Gustavo Romero, is attending trials with Terengganu.