Match Preview: Amirul Eyes First Clean Sheet of the Season
The jury is still out on Geylang International new signing Amirul Adli after featuring in three league games for the Tampines-based club this season.
Opinions among the Eagles fans on the free transfer recruit from Lion City Sailors have been fiercely divided.
On the one hand, some supporters feel that the Singapore centre-back with 21 caps is a breath of fresh air who brings a different art of defending to Noor Ali's team.
Tasked as a ball-playing defender by his coach, Amirul was seen surging up the field and initiating attacking plays.
In fact, it was Amirul who contributed to Vincent Bezecourt's leveller against Hougang United on Sunday as he reacted the quickest to pounce on a loose ball inside the opposition half and threaded a pass to Gareth Low, who in turn assisted the goal.
The 1.81m defender also posed an aerial threat at setpieces, as evident in matchday 2 against Young Lions when he helped Rio Sakuma to his second goal via a header from a Takahiro Tezuka corner delivery.
On the flip side, there are others who lament that Amirul could have done better defensively for his team, considering that they have yet to record a clean sheet this season.
It was pointed out that the 27-year-old had been committing unnecessary fouls in dangerous positions, putting his teammates under undue pressure.
Given his years of professional experience and stature as a national player, he could have been more strategic in fouling his opponents.
If Amirul is able to step up the defensive part of his game, there is a strong chance that he can help his club earn their first shutout of the campaign against Tanjong Pagar United on Friday (March 10).
After releasing their last season's top goalscorer, Reo Nishiguchi, and playmaker Shodai Nishigawa during the off-season, the Jaguars have lacked attacking bite upfront and struggled in front of goal.
With a solitary goal in the first two matches culminating to straight defeats, the two-time league runners-up are currently joint bottom in the table.
Faced with a team not clicking in attack, Amirul and co are rubbing their palms in glee in keeping their rivals at arm's length from goal.
Team news: Amirul Adli, who can play across the back, will be shuffled to right-back in place of the suspended Akmal Azman. Also without injured full-backs Fadli Kamis and Ahmad Syahir, head coach Noor Ali has a big call to make on the candidate to fill the left of defence - either sticking to academy player Haikal Sukri who had a torrid time against Hougang United or deploying midfielder Huzaifah Aziz as a stand-in left-back.