AL AIN // After their 2-0 win over Al Nasr to open the league season, Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach, said his players will be brimming with confidence as they head into Friday night's derby at Al Wahda.
"I know it is a classic match, but for me what's important from this game is the three points," the Romanian said. "We have had a good start and the players will feel more confident going into this game.
"The team is at full strength and I would like to see more improvement from our first game when we play Al Wahda."
Al Ain have assembled one of the best forward lines in the country including Asamoah Gyan, the Ghana international striker, on a one-year loan from the English Premier League club, Sunderland, and with Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabia captain.
Wahda had been inactive in the transfer market during the summer before they signed Mohammed Abdullah Al Shaibah, the Oman international centre-back, on a one-year loan from Al Wasl two weeks ago.
Al Shaibah is suspended for the match at Al Nahyan stadium Friday night.
He was shown a red card in the 2-1 defeat away to Al Shabab last week.
Fernando Baiano, the Brazilian striker, who came on as a second-half substitute in that game, is also doubtful.
Jazira, the defending champions, will be looking to carry on from where they left off in the Pro League when they travel to Sharjah.
“After a strong start, it is important we go out there and establish an early lead,” said Vercauteren, the Belgian coach, above. “Sharjah is a good side, like all others in the league, and we need to play true to our potential to return with three points.”
Abdul Wahab Abdul Kader, the Ajman coach, is confident his fit-again Ivory Coast forward Olivier Tia will improve his side’s attacking output when they travel to Dubai to face Al Nasr.
“Olivier’s return from injury will certainly help us.” he said earlier in the week.
The promoted club have been a revelation so far this season.
They are unbeaten in four Etisalat Cup matches and drew 1-1 at home to Baniyasin their Pro League opener.
Ibrahima Toure, Ajman’s Senegalese centre forward, already has seven goals in all competitions.