Kraljevic: Now is a good time to face Albirex

Balestier were drawn in Group B of this year's League Cup with the current runaway S.League leaders Albirex Niigata, but coach Marko Kraljevic believes his side can match the country's in-form team… 

Balestier Khalsa head coach Marko Kraljevic was pleased with how his side’s League Cup group draw went, even though they drew league leaders Albirex Niigata (S).

The White Swans are the S.League’s most in-form team, having won 10 straight league games. They are also the defending champions of the Cup and won't plan on relinquishing their grasp on the trophy anytime soon.

The Tigers will also face Home United and Geylang International in their group, no easy foes by any reckoning, but Kraljevic expressed confidence his side would present a good account of itself.

His confidence has been fueled by Balestier's three-game unbeaten run prior to a narrow 3-2 defeat to Tampines Rovers. The Tigers scored eight goals during this period, when previously they struggled to hit the back of the net.

Niko Tokic has given Balestier a cutting edge upfront.

“At the moment, Albirex are really the team to beat, but the rest of us, we are all evenly matched. They can beat us, we can beat them,” Kraljevic said.

“I think three of us (Balestier, Home and Geylang) will fight for the second position, at the moment. We will see.”

While some clubs have stated they will be using the tournament to give fringe players a run out, Kraljevic insisted he would be fielding his strongest 11.

“In our league, we more or less can’t go far after a poor start,” Kraljevic shared.

“We won the Cup the year before (in 2013) and small clubs are always good in the Cup competition. With a few games, good run, we can make it to the finals.

“It’s three weeks, anything can happen. At the moment we are ready. We are looking forward, we are playing better with a new striker and I think it is a good time to face Albirex.”

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FFT