His last appearance might have been a short cameo against Sarawak, but Fandi Ahmad is hoping Khairul Nizam can prove the difference as he returns to the LionsXII lineup against Pahang.
Fandi Ahmad will look to overcome the biggest match of his season tonight in the only way he knows - attack mode.
The LionsXII head coach is set to roll the dice with Khairul Nizam his trump card, as the injury-plagued striker looks set to start alongside half brother Khairul Amri for the first time this season.
Visitors Pahang FA are likely to prove stiff opposition, with the Malaysian Super League leaders having beaten the hosts twice this season in both league and Malaysia FA Cup action.
"I want to see them fighting from the start, because for me Pahang are the best team in the league," Fandi told assembled media after a training session was called off early due to torrential rain on Monday.
"They have been winning five to six matches in a row and they have the best foreigners both at the back and up front."
The home team are coming off a demoralising loss to Sime Darby on Saturday, as a Syukur Saidin strike in first half injury time condemned them to another home defeat.
Goals have been hard to come by for the defending champions of late, as top scorer Amri's five goals is part of a paltry 14 goal total - only one more than they have conceded.
Fandi is hoping that Nizam's return to the starting line up will prove a welcome solution, but is wary that the highly rated forward may not last the distance.
"We have to push Nizam to really come up and play; our target [for his return] was in March and now it's April,' he said.
"I hope he doesn't complain about anything else, he is the most talented upcoming striker we have and he needs to take care of himself.
"He has good speed and good strength, although the first touch is not too good yet.
"I believe he can be the best forward we have in the next few years, but I would rather risk him early then throw him on late."
The coach admitted that Nizam's problems were as much mental as they were physical, but backed him to strike up a good partnership with Amri.
"This is the best pair we have, I told Nizam even if he lasts 50 to 60 minutes, we can take him out after," he said.
"I told them you need to play as a team, you are brothers and you know each other very well.
"They may not be talking [to each other] but they must communicate. It's important they know the football language and can pass to each other and score [on the pitch]."comments