KUALA LUMPUR: After a slight delay the second round matches in the preliminary round of the Malaysia Hockey League will resume today.
And the focus will be on leaders Ernst and Young, who have 24 points and hold a two-point lead over Sapura. They will be up against former champions Maybank.
Tenaga coach K. Rajan, who led his team to a double last year, said: “The chasing pack will be looking at Ernst and Young to drop points. There will be interest in matches involving them.”
But he concedes that it would be tough for Tenaga to catch up with the front runners.
“We have lost three matches and drew two and we are far behind the leaders. We have to look at finishing among the top group and concentrate on retaining the overall title.”
Ernst and Young coach A. Arulselvaraj said that Maybank would be tough customers, aiming to avenge a 0-3 defeat in the first round.
“They are within striking distance of the title and will surely be out for full points,” he said.
“For us, it is a new beginning. I want the players to think as if all the teams are equal on points and work on each match just as hard,” he said.
Ernst and Young will have their second foreigner, Dhanraj Pillay, for the match today. The Indian forward is expected to arrive here in the morning.
“We will field him if he arrives as scheduled. But we won't be disrupting our frontline and we will field him as the extra midfielder and revamp the defence. We will try other options as we go along,” said Arulselvaraj.
On Sunday, Ernst and Young will be up against Tenaga.
Sapura will play against Royal Malay Regiment (RMR) in their opening second round fixtures.
Coach Tai Beng Hai said: “The matches from now will be very close and the players will have to work harder at their game.”
RMR have a strong player in Hong Kong forward Arif Ali and he is the driving force of the team.