Reuben close to ATM return

National defender K. Reuben is ready to play his part in ATM’s quest for the Malaysia Cup as he closes in on a return from injury.

The 24-years-old has been sidelined since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a league game against Terengganu last February.

The ATM defender is still continuing his rehabilitation, but revealed that he is feeling better.

He told FourFourTwo: “For the past few months, I have been jogging and doing light exercises to keep myself fit.

"I should be able to fully recover by mid-August, but I think the coach might push my return date to September just to be safe, which is good because we do not want to risk it.”

The prospect of the ‘Tank’ returning will be music to head coach B. Sathianathan’s ears, especially after ATM played poorly throughout the league season and barely escaped relegation to the Premier League on goal difference.

Despite that, Reuben believed it was not a fair assessment of his team.

“Yes, the season did not look good in overall, but we did play better towards the end of the season.

“We were unbeaten in our final five league games and even beat JDT and Selangor.

“Plus, our league campaign suffered because we had a lot of injuries, but most of our players are now coming back to full fitness, so we will be back to our full strength very soon.”

Although he would be unlikely to contribute to the team in the Malaysia Cup group stages, where they will play against JDT, Kelantan and Penang, Reuben was confident that the Gladiators would do well without him.

"It is an interesting group and looks tough, but ATM can definitely qualify to the quarter-finals.

"I am not too worried about JDT and Kelantan because we usually play better against strong teams.

“Penang actually worry me the most because we have never played against them before, so we do not know what to expect from them.

"But, in a way, it also helps to keep us on our toes and not to take them for granted.”