Daniel Bennett
Bennett will be a crucial figure in Singapore's backline Reuters

Singapore coach V Sundramoorthy lauded the positive mood in the Lions' camp ahead of their 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup campaign, starting 19 November.

Sundram is overseeing a five-day training camp in Doha with his 29-member preliminary squad, which does not feature rested midfielder Hariss Harun.

The final squad though will have only 23 members and the current unit will be trimmed down after Singapore plays two more international friendlies - against Syria in Negeri Sembilan on 9 November and Cambodia at home on 13 November - in order to get themselves ready for the eight-nation tournament.

Since taking over as coach in May, the former Lions XII in-charge has been able to lead Singapore to only one victory. Also, the Lions have not been able to win a game in their last five attempts.

However, Sundram should take heart from the positive intent shown by the team in their goalless draw against Malaysia and even in their 2-0 defeat to Hong Kong in October.

The 51-year-old coach insists his players in Doha to fight for spots not just in the 23-man final list but in the starting lineup as well. He also is happy with the composure of the team, which has a good mix of experience and youngsters.

"Team spirit is high and the senior players are constantly speaking to their younger teammates," Sundram was quoted as saying by The New Paper.

"We have a good mix of experienced players such as Shahril (Ishak), Daniel (Bennett) and Hassan (Sunny) and younger players like Iqbal (Hamid Hussain) and Anumanthan (Mohan Kumar) and I am happy that they have the desire to not just be in the final 23-man squad but also to be in the starting line up.

"Some players have played consistently well over the last few months and they should be in the final squad unless they pick up an injury over the next two weeks.

"The others are competing well for the remaining spots in the 23-man squad and hence, the upcoming matches [the two friendlies] will be a key opportunity for them to select themselves for the competition."

Notably, the likes of Shahdan Sulaiman, who has returned to the national squad after an injury layoff, is keen on travelling to Manila with the Lions while Hougang midfielder Anumanathan would want to seal a spot in the midfield alongside Harun.

Singapore's front line should fare better if they are thinking of repeating their 2012 campaign, in which they defeated Thailand 4-2 on aggregate to clinch the cup. The Lions have scored only three goals in their last six games but veteran defender Baihakki Khaizan is confident about his team's goal-scoring ability.

"I hope we can start to score regularly, and use the upcoming matches to gel more as a team. I am confident our strikers will show up for the big occasions," Baihakki said.