DOHA / Al Ain have been boosted by the return to training of Ignacio Scocco, their Argentine forward.
Scocco, 26, has been sidelined since injury himself in a pre-season friendly last month but he was given the all clear by the club doctor to resume light training at the club's training camp in the Qatar capital.
His return will be a major fillip to Cosmin Olaroi, the club's Romanian coach, who is excited about the prospect of fielding the versatile forward in the same side as the fellow attacking options Mirel Radoi and Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabia captain.
At the other end of the field, Mohammed Ali Ayed, the 20-year-old defender, is keen to shore up a defence which conceded 35 league goals last season.
Despite finishing just one place above the relegation zone last season, Ayed is keen to turn the negative experience of last season into a positive.
"I personally don't agree with those who say to forget last season's experience," Ayed said. "I consider it as a hard lesson to remember and we should make use of it in the way that leads us to achieve our aspirations and please our fans."
The defender wants the players to repay the faith shown in them by Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed, the club chairman.
"I want to play well in the matches with the team repaying the efforts made by the board of directors and the support they gave to the players," Ayed said.
"In fact, every player is aware he is playing for a great club and should double his efforts and develop his performance to be as good as the trust of the management and the fans.
"We, as a team, wish to return to the podiums again and try to hit the targets in the coming season with the great support of the board of directors and the fans."
* With agency