‘We can’t take the cup for granted. Sure we’re not going to win it, but if we put a decent run together, the momentum from that will hopefully carry on in the league and we’ll be right up top…’
‘Injuries boss! The extra cup run will cause jadedness and we’ll have a higher chance of players getting injured. I stick to what I said, we should play the youth and fringe players in the cup, let them get game time but tell them we don’t expect much from these games’
‘Surely that relaxed attitude isn’t going to inspire confidence Keith?’
‘I know boss, but I’ve got your back here, you’ve promised promotion to the Super League this year, and whilst a cup run is good, I think we should be keeping expectations to a realistic level’
What do I do here then? Do I put a strong team out and hope we keep a good level of form and momentum together and hope it carries over to our league campaign? Or put some bench and reserve players out against Felda, who are a Super League team? My head says put our first team out and see if we can’t go toe to toe with them, but my heart says give my fringe guys a run out? To hell with it, our strongest team plays….
What an end to end game. Both teams went all out for this one, and we came away winners and progressed in the cup. My decision to play our strongest 11 paid off as we held our own and edged this game against top tier Felda.
We’re drawn against another Super League team in Kelantan in the next round of the cup, and I’m not even discussing team selection with my assistant, the same 11 that beat Felda are starting this game.
‘I told you all at when we started pre season training that set plays would be key to our success this season, and my word did they pay off today. Dominic, excellent diving header for our first, more of that please. And Subri, absolutely top drawer free kick for the second there’
We rode our luck a little bit in this game. We took a 2 goal lead heading into the second half and gifted them a goal shortly after, but we soaked up the pressure and rode out the full half more or less and we now take ourselves into the quarter final of the FA Cup against Johor Darul 2, who we smashed 4 nil at the start of the season.
A short month in terms of fixtures as we ended March with a bore draw at home to league leaders PKNP. The game was pretty even but neither team had that cutting edge.
Still it’s good to be unbeaten this month and we’re sitting pretty in second place in the league after 7 games. We’re going to have to be on our toes as Steve Kean and Sarawak are hot on our heels after ending their month with a massive 6-0 beating of Sabah, now where have I heard the score line before…..
We continued on with our FA Cup run with a draw to Johor Darul 2. Whilst avoiding defeat is a plus this was a game I felt we could get something from.
In the league we carried on with our good showing as we recorded back to back victories over UKM & Mifa to keep us at the right end of the league.
Our league form continued albeit with a draw against Terengganu 2 which preceded 2 poor results
First we were the better team overall and did not deserve to lose the second leg of the quarter final in the cup to Johor 2. We had chance after chance to put the game to bed but just couldn’t convert any until they took they’re only proper chance late on to knock us out.
Then the hangover from that poor cup loss took us to a defeat against Kuantan who again took their only clear cut chance. Another game where we failed to convert any of the good chances we created.
‘Keith, what’s your take on the dressing room atmosphere at the minute?’
‘Well the players are all united, they’re a close knit bunch’
‘That’s good to hear, do they all believe in my aims for the season?’
‘I’d say definitely, they’re all happy you’re the boss and are all on board with you’
‘Thanks. My only concern at the half way point of the league season is we’re creating plenty of chances, just the last 2 games we’ve not taken any. Do you think we should shake it up a bit, maybe try 2 up top?’
‘Personally, no. I’d say leave it as it is, we’re playing well just the last 2 games we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. Don’t worry, we’ll get back to winning ways’
‘Hope so, I’ve promised promotion this year since literally the end of last season. Let’s get back to it’
Previous episode – Here we go