It will be no easy feat – they face second-placed Chainat FC away from home at Khao Plong Stadium tomorrow (January 14).
Leading the team for the first time as head coach will be Suphat Ontthong, the injured captain and centre back, who believes his team is up to the task of taking at least one point from the encounter.
Suphat was named temporary head coach by FC Phuket Director Naruebet ‘Ko Lek’ Aryupong after Somphong Wattana’s resignation and Apichart Mosika’s return to his team PTT Rayong FC last week.
Despite having a limited choice of players available for the game, Suphat has decided to go for a 4-3-3 formation, with Luechar Jantawong in goals and three local footballers – Kittitach Kraitong, Suthee Sakdiwong and Arwoot Nuchet – forming the defensive line along with Ivorian star Nene Bi.
Wiratrot Chanteng, meanwhile, has maxed out his yellow card quota and is banned from the game.
In the midfield, Suphat has put Niran Panthong on the left, Abdoul Coulibary at centre and Seksit Srisai on the right, looking to utilise their skills to stop the game in the midfield and launch a strong counter attack.
Star midfielder Sarach Yooyen will miss the game following the recent death of his father.
“The game will be played at 4pm and I know two things about Chainat: They don’t play well in heat, and when they attack, they tend to forget their defence. We will use that against them,” Suphat said.
“I am very excited to coach the boys in this game. It’s true that I have helped coaches analysing the games during my injury break, but this will be my first game as head coach.
“I’ll be on my own, but I’m lucky that the FC Phuket boys think of me as a big brother so it’s easy to talk to them about how I want them to play.”
Despite the Southern Sea Kirin having little left to play for this season, Suphat insists the players will still be putting in their best performance.
“We have already lost our TPL [Thai Premier League] promotion, but this game is the last game we play before many of our players part ways. Some will stay, some will not. We will do our best not to disappoint our fans. We thank you for your support.”
* Chainat FC v FC Phuket will be played at Khao Plong Stadium, kick off is at 4pm tomorrow (January 14). Live broadcast on True Visions channel 74 from 3.30pm onwards.