The Young Lions may be on an eight-match winless streak in the Singapore Premier League, and are still without their head coach Philippe Aw, who has been granted time off from the Young Lions’ coaching duties after his role as Head Coach of the National Under-22 side at the recently concluded Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Cambodia. 

But Lion City Sailors midfield maestro, Adam Swandi, is still not taking anything for granted when the two sides meet at Bishan Stadium on Saturday (10 June) night. 

Adam Swandi is acutely aware of the threat the Young Lions – who are under the tutelage of assistant coaches Muhammad Fadzuhasny Juraimi and Koichiro Iizuka – pose. 

“Young Lions are not a team to be taken lightly, they’ve got players with individual quality and they can pose a hazard to us if we are complacent,” said Adam, with the 1-1 draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium on 15 April still fresh in his mind.  

“We definitely can’t underestimate them and we must not be big-headed. We must go into every game like it is a final, and give our all to get the three points and return to winning ways.”

Although the former Young Lions man expressed disappointment with the Sailors’ 1-1 draw with fellow SPL title-challengers Tampines Rovers on Wednesday (7 June) night, he is champing at the bit and ready for the Young Lions game.

“We played well against Tampines and created several chances, but the result was not what we desired. I believe that we displayed persistence and a strength of will against Tampines, but unfortunately luck wasn’t on our side,” said Adam. 

“But this is a good build-up to our future games, and we will be raring to get the three points from now on,” added the midfielder who will join up with the Singapore National Team for two international friendlies – against Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands – after the Young Lions fixture.

Adam, who battled back from injury to make 11 appearances for the Sailors this season, is determined to build on his recent good form and deliver influential performances at the heart of the Sailors midfield.

He said: “I’m pushing hard every day in training and games, and whenever Coach Risto (Vidaković) puts me on the pitch, I do my best to repay his faith in me.”

The Sailors are third in the SPL table with 27 points, behind second-placed Tampines who are three points ahead. Albirex Niigata (S) sit atop the nine-team standings also on 30 points, but with superior goal difference and one game in hand. 

“We know what’s at stake at this crucial juncture in the league, we just have to do our best and be consistent from now on,” said a defiant Adam.  

“The race for the title is still wide open.”