DPMM FC's Sairol Hj Sahari (R) runs past a Geylang United FC player during a Singapore League tie at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last year. The left back is recovering from a knee injury. Picture: BT file
Sairol Hj Sahari can't wait to get back to full fitness.
The DPMM FC left back has been out of action since the last week of August after being diagnosed with a meniscus tear on his right knee.
He has since returned to training with Brunei's only professional team at the start of the year and yesterday travelled with the team to compete in the two-day 2014 Saksee Phuket Cup which starts today.
The 30-year-old is working hard and hopes to catch up with the rest of his teammates.
"I feel a lot better already (after undergoing surgery in September). I'm slowly progressing on building my strength and muscles," said Sairol in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday before departure to Thailand.
"I'm still not at 100 per cent and I hope that I can get back to where I used to be before.
"I just need more time to work on my fitness. I can play but I do feel that I'm not fully ready for it.
"I want to see how I will be able to cope in Phuket and I want to get at the same level as my teammates soon since they started training under coach (Steve Kean) last year," continued Sairol.
The three-team round-robin tournament will be the first real test for Kean since his arrival to the Sultanate in November.
DPMM FC are set to face Nakhon Sri Heritage in the opener of the three-team round-robin tournament today followed by a meeting against hosts Phuket FC tomorrow.
Their Singapore League campaign, meanwhile, starts on Feb 22 against Albirex Niigata (S) FC, with their first home game set for six days later against Warriors FC.
Captain Rosmin Hj Kamis hopes that the team will be able to return from Thailand with some positives.
"We are getting better and we want to see what we will be able to do in Phuket," said the midfielder.
"Everyone feels positive and the team spirit is high right now.
"Of course we are hoping to get wins in Phuket.
"We want to see how we play together before the league starts.
"Training has been affected a little with the continuous downpour the past few days (but) fortunately we were able to use the artificial pitch at SMJA (Jamalul Alam Secondary School) yesterday," continued the DPMM FC skipper.
Team manager Ali Hj Momin said that the main aim for the competition is to get the players to gel before the start of the S-League season next month.
"Training has been quite interesting. The players are learning something new everyday.
"From my point of view, they are continuously improving both physically and technically.
"There is good motivation in training camp having a high standard coach.
"We want the local players to gel with the imports before the league starts.
"Most teams struggle at the start of the season with the addition of new players and we're hoping we can gain some momentum in Thailand.
"Instead of this only being an ice-breaker for the team, we are also looking to get the wins," concluded the team manager.
DPMM FC will be taking all four of their imports - Boris Raspudic (Bosnia), Roberto Alviz (Croatia), Joseph Gamble (Ireland) and Rodrigo Tosi (Brazil) - to Phuket.
Three on-trial players were also on the plane and Ali revealed that they are looking to sign a striker to fill up the final import slot.
It was reported on the team's official website that the club is "in for Welsh national team striker Rob Earnshaw".
DPMM FC will host Kelantan FA, the FA Cup champions and Malaysia Cup runners-up, in a friendly at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas next Friday.