SOUTH CHINA'S Dutch goalkeeper, Werner Kooistra, makes a long-awaited return to his side after serving out a four-match suspension.
But no sooner has he returned to the spotlight, he has been thrown in the firing line as the Caroliners do battle against champions Eastern in today's top-of-the-table clash at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Kooistra, who was banned by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for fighting in a pre-season friendly in the Philippines, is itching to get back in the thick of the action.
During his absence, South China have used another Dutch 'keeper, Piet Drommel, as a stand-in while sparingly fielding reserve goalkeeper Leung Cheuk-cheung as well as former Club 'keeper Andy Roseburgh.
Despite Kooistra's return, South China will still be under par in strength.
Both Bosnian striker Anto Grabo and Hong Kong international striker, Au Wai-lun, are nursing injuries.
Eastern too have a few injury problems, notwithstanding last season's leading goalscorer striker Dale Tempest, who is still nursing a knee injury sustained in a friendly against the Singapore national team last month.