Return of captain Shahril?

Return of captain Shahril?
Shahril Ishak (with ball) back at training yesterday with Baihakki Khaizan (left) and Irwan Shah (right) after tearing his left gluteus late last month and staring at a long time on the treatment table. But his determination to be back on his feet may see him lead the LionsXII on Saturday, when they take on last season's losing Malaysia Cup finalists ATM. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

He has been injured for the past month but with the LionsXII needing goals in their Malaysia Cup quarter-final first leg against Malaysian military side ATM on Saturday, Shahril Ishak could start at the Jalan Besar Stadium as V. Sundramoorthy's men go for maximum fire-power.

The return of the inspirational captain and leading scorer, who netted nine times in all competitions this year, will be the boost the hosts need to complete the double, after July's Malaysian Super League (MSL) triumph.

For Shahril, he is gunning for a hat-trick of a ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, MSL and Malaysia Cup wins as captain.

"It is a dream not only for me but also for the players as well to lift the Malaysia Cup," he told The Straits Times.

"We want the trophy. This has been the best time of my career. As long as I'm on the pitch, I want to lead the team and write more history."

But the buoyant mood in the LionsXII's camp could have been so different.

After the team's first three Malaysia Cup games, V. Sundramoorthy's men were anchored firmly at the bottom of Group D following a draw and two defeats.

But three straight wins over Perak, Sarawak and Kedah propelled them into second place and the last eight.

The 29-year-old said: "When we didn't get the results earlier on, the players were down. We thought "that was it".

"But coach Sundram kept motivating us. We stayed strong and now the dream is back on.

"With home advantage this Saturday, we want to score as many goals as possible."

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