Tampines Rovers skipper Madhu Mohana will be out of action for three weeks and is likely to miss at least the next four matches after suffering a 'heavy hamstring' injury, coach Juergen Raab confirmed on Saturday.
The Singapore international's absence comes as a big blow to the Stags, who resume their AFC Cup 2017 campaign against Malaysia's Felda United on the road on 19 April.
Raab's men are struggling at the bottom of Asean zone's Group G with only three points from four games. While only the group winner and the best-placed runner-up among the three Asean groups progress to the zonal semi-final of the tournament, Tampines need to win big in their remaining two matches to stand a chance of making it past the group stages.
Notably, Madhu picked up the injury during their 2-1 loss, which was also the Stags' third defeat on the trot in the competition, to Hanoi FC at home on 4 April. However, Lions striker Khairul Amri, who has missed three games after picking up a knock during the last international break, is ready to lead the attack on Wednesday.
"Madhu has a heavy hamstring, and he will miss maybe 14 days, maybe three weeks and around four matches. As for Amri, he is in training, and he is available for sure," Raab told International Business Times, Singapore.
"He [Amri] has been training without pain, but after an injury he needs a bit of time to regain his 100% fitness. That is why on Wednesday, he will not be in the starting line-up, but maybe coming off the bench."
Raab also revealed that he is not happy with the league scheduling as the Tampines played three back-to-back games in a week's time right after the international break, which resulted in injuries to key players, including Hafiz Rahim, Imran Sahib and Ismadi Mukhtar apart from Madhu and Amri.
However, the Stags will head into Wednesday's game after a 11-day break, which has helped players recover from fatigue and injuries, according to the German tactician.
"There is one thing strange in football, that we must play on Saturday against Warriors and Tuesday against Hanoi. Now, we are free this weekend. Very strange," Raab lamented.
"Home United were supposed to play yesterday, but they could postpone their game as they play this Tuesday. What is this for equal opportunities? For this, I want a good reason, but for the moment I think it is good that we do not have a match this weekend because of our injuries."