| Fadhil Yunus |
DPMM FC Head Coach Adrian Pennock has brushed aside talks about his table-topping charges being overwhelmed by pressure ahead of an eagerly-anticipated clash against plucky Young Lions in the AIA Singapore Premier League at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore today.
The Brunei-based outfit have quietly stolen a march at the top of the league, much to the surprise of the footballing circles in Singapore as they approach the final ten games.
“We got ten games to go and we’re top of the league. I think everybody will be honest to say that maybe nobody expected us to be at the top of the league with ten games to go,” said Pennock in a pre-match interview with the Weekend Bulletin at the Jerudong Mini Stadium on Thursday.
The head coach insisted that the pressure lies on big trio Albirex Niigata (S), Hougang United and Tampines who were the preferred choices to top the table in the pre-season predictions.
He added, “We’re having a fantastic time. We’re really enjoying it. Obviously, all the pressure is on Albirex Niigata (S), Hougang and Tampines because everybody thought they will be going to romp the league. Unfortunately, we’re messing up for them.
“Nobody mentioned about being top of the league. We just go ahead in every game and enjoy ourselves because there is no pressure on us. We haven’t felt any pressure from anybody that we must win the league.”
The Ipswich-born continued, “I think we’ve surprised a lot of people in Singapore because our name was not mentioned at all at the start of the season.”
The Brunei-based outfit will face Fandi Ahmad’s Young Lions side, who are fresh from their stunning 1-0 win against much-favoured Hougang on Wednesday.
“We go to Young Lions on Saturday (today). They just had a fantastic result. They should have beaten Albirex, to be fair in the game before, where they lost 2-1. Everybody can beat each other in this league.”
Pennock also shared the feel-good factor and good ambience surrounding the club as they prepare for the final stretch of the season.
“We’re in a good position. We’re just enjoying ourselves. We’re enjoying training and I love coming in and training the boys. We’re just looking forward to the match (against Young Lions) and take it one game at a time for us.”
The head coach gathered all the players in a huddle after the end of a training session and when asked how the players are feeling being at the top, he said, “I look at them every day and they got a smile on their face and that’s all that matters. I think they come in training and work their socks off.”
“Win, lose or draw, they give it their all. I cannot complain,” the former Gillingham manager added.
DPMM FC defender Hanif Hamir is side-lined with an injury after picking up a dead leg while Blake Ricciuto and Nurikhwan Othman are both suspended.