PENANG: Kedah's goal machine Marlon James (pic) departs for St Vincent and Grenadines tomorrow.
But before he leaves for his homeland, the striker has vowed to put the Canaries in the driving seat when they take on UPB-MyTeam in the FA Cup quarter-final first leg at the MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya tonight.
“I am accompanying my wife, who is pregnant with our first child, home so that she can be taken care by our family members in St Vincent.
“Before I leave, I want to help Kedah gain a comfortable cushion to bring to Alor Star for the second leg. It does not matter if I score as long as Kedah get into the semi-finals,” said James yesterday.
James will miss the Canaries' Malaysia Cup final preliminary round clash against Perak in Ipoh on Saturday.
But his coach Mohd Azraai Khor will not fret over his top striker's absence as Kedah have already confirmed their place in the Malaysia Cup last eight and top spot in Group C.
James is only expected to return next week, hopefully in time for the FA Cup quarter-final return leg in Alor Star on May 29.
The St Vincent international acknowledges that the Canaries face a tough task against their Premier League opponents tonight.
UPB-My Team are currently in good position to be promoted to the Super League next season. The club side eliminated Super League outfit Negri Sembilan Naza in the previous round of the FA Cup.
“We may be doing well in the Super League but it is no excuse to treat any opponents lightly, especially in a Cup competition. We need a good result in the first leg but must keep in mind that UPB MyTeam are capable of punishing us if we let our guards down,” said James.
The former MK Land striker is enjoying a good return to Malaysian football this year.
In his first season with the Super League leaders, James has already contributed 25 goals.
His hat-trick in the 4-1 league victory over Penang last Saturday propelled him into second spot in the league scorers' standings with 15 goals, just one behind Brunei DPMM's Shahrazain Said.
He has also netted eight times in the Malaysia Cup and twice in the FA Cup.
Said James: “The Golden Boot is not really on my mind right now. It is more important for me to help Kedah do well on all three fronts.
“At the moment, Kedah are in a good position to win trophies. But since we did not target any titles at the beginning of the season, there is not much pressure on the players and we will continue to play confidently.”