PETALING JAYA - Super League leaders Pahang's unblemished home record will be put to the test in a top-of-the-table clash against title contenders Selangor at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan on Saturday.
The Elephants have a feared reputation at home with seven straight wins and scoring a whopping 19 goals.
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan believes they are on course to clinch the crown if they can maintain their winning streak at home and collect full points in the other two matches against Johor Darul Ta'zim (away, May 16) and Terengganu (home, May 24).
"This is a crucial month for Pahang. I think the next three matches will determine the league champions. Right now, it is still tight at the top with three other teams within striking distance of the title," said Zainal from Kuantan on Thursday.
Pahang lead the 12-team standings with 28 points and are ahead of Selangor with a better goal difference. JDT and Terengganu are close behind on 25 and 24 points respectively.
Zainal said their immediate task is to beat Selangor, whom they lost 0-1 in the first round at the Shah Alam Stadium.
"The home fans have been a real inspiration to the team. If not for their support, we could not have achieved the seven-game winning streak at home," said Zainal.
Pahang are also going great guns in the FA Cup. They play JDT in the return leg of the semi-finals in Kuantan on May 31 after having drawn 1-1 in the first-leg match in Larkin last week.
"We have the advantage but we will focus on the league now. All the players are in the right frame of mind and I am sure they will not let the fans down," said Zainal.
Pahang have an established side and only made minimal changes to the squad who won the Malaysia Cup last season. The notable change is the inclusion of Nigerian striker Dickson Nwakaeme, who previously featured for Kelantan.
Pahang have retained Argentinian striker Matias Conti and Jamaican defender Damion Stewart. The other new signing is Pakistani Zesh Rahman.