PENANG: The Penang Panthers, stunned by three consecutive defeats in their Premier I campaign, will be out to stop the rot when they take on star-studded Pahang in a Premier I clash at the State Stadium in Batu Kawan tonight.
After a run of three straight losses, the worst record in coach Irfan Bakti's four-season tenure, Penang are eager to bounce back.
Penang lost to Kelantan 2-3 on March 15, Perlis (0-1) on March 22 and then last Saturday they went down 1-2 to bottom team Terengganu.
Irfan's task of getting Penang back on the winning trail will not be any easier against high-riding Pahang who have hit purple patch after an unbeaten run of five matches.
But Irfan's not ready to throw in the towel against a Pahang side bolstered by some of the best footballers in the country.
“I know it will not be an easy game as Pahang are a force to be reckoned with this season.
“They have recruited the best players from Terengganu like national striker Hairuddin Omar and others. They also have good foreign players but they are not invincible.
“With the right frame of mind, determination and if the players want to salvage lost pride, I am sure we can turn the odds around,” said Irfan after training yesterday.
His confidence is boosted by Penang's display against Terengganu on Saturday. Although his team lost 1-2, Irfan was happy that the players showed character and creativity in the match.
Penang will be further boosted by the return of left back Chow Chee Weng and Australian defender Geoff Dwyer from injury and suspension respectively.
“Although we will sorely miss the influential Suresh (Kumar) in mid-field, I am glad that Chow and Dwyer are back and eager to see action.”
Penang, the leaders early in the season, are now in eighth place with 10 points while Pahang are third with 14 points.
Perak and Perlis are in first and second spot respectively.