Kelantan’s on-loan striker R. Surendren is racing against time to get fit for the Malaysia Cup competition.
The 27-year-old Pahang striker suffered a minor fracture on his foot barely a week after joining the Red Warriors.
The former international is set to be out for a couple of weeks and looks doubtful of playing in the east coast side’s opening match against Sarawak in Kuching on Sept 6.
“It is an untimely injury but I’m confident of making a quick return even before the knock-out stages, I’m undergoing treatment now and I’m expected to join the team in training next week,” said Surendren yesterday,
Kelantan have signed Surendren and Pahang’s Azamuddin Akil on loan to strengthen their strike force for the defence of their Malaysia Cup title. They have been overly dependent on Norshahrul Idlan Talaha to deliver the goals during en route to winning this year’s Super League title.
The nippy Surendren, noted for his ability to nick a goal as a substitute, sustained the injury during the friendly match against Police last Thursday.
“I’m looking forward to my partnership with Norshahrul and hopefully win my first Malaysia Cup medal with Kelantan. It means a lot to me to end with the champions medal after finishing bridesmaid twice,” said Surendren, who was with Perak (2005) and Selangor (2008) when they finished runners-up.
Surendren played a key role in the Red Giants’ treble success in the Charity Shield, FA Cup and Super League titles in 2009. Last year, he bagged more than a dozen goals for Selangor and also scored the winner in their 2-1 win over Negri Sembilan in the Charity Shield match.
This year Surendren managed only four goals for Pahang and started his stint with Kelantan on a positive note by scoring a goal in the 5-0 demolition of Kuala Lumpur in a friendly on Aug 15.
Meanwhile, Kelantan coach Datuk M. Karathu believes that keeping his players injury free will be vital before the Malaysia Cup tournament starts and has warned the players to be extra careful in their next two friendlies against T-Team today and Songkhla FC on Friday.
“We have two more friendly matches and I believe it will be enough for us before the Malaysia Cup starts,” said Karathu.
“We are working hard on our preparation and avoiding injury will be a top priority and I don’t want to lose players to injuries.
“Surendren and left-back Zairul Fitree Ishak are certain to miss our opening match but the return of Norshahrul from injury is good news for us. I believe we are on the right track towards our title defence.”
Kelantan who are grouped with Johor FC, Felda United and Sarawak in Group C, will kick off their campaign against Premier League runners-up Sarawak at the State Stadium in Kuching on Sept 6.