Hong Kong will play their attacking style against Singapore in their international friendly in So Kon Po tonight despite the absence of leading goal scorer Chan Siu-ki.
The striker, who hit a hat-trick against Taiwan in February when Hong Kong won 5-1, withdrew from the team last week, for personal reasons.
Coach Ernie Merrick, who will be in charge of his second match since his arrival in January, acknowledged his job was to manage such problems and said the striker's absence would not affect his attacking game plan.
'Coaches always make little changes for the better of the team and it's never just a case of that player out this player in,' he said.
'I need to get the combination up front right. If I don't get it right, we don't score goals and won't win games. Against Singapore, the bottom line is to win the game, which is realistically achievable.'
The former Melbourne Victory coach was delighted with the preparation time he has been given for the match which aims at improving Hong Kong's world ranking. Hong Kong are 161st in the Fifa standings while the visitors are 158th..
'If we play Spain, I would say something different but against Singapore or Taiwan, it's all about winning,' he said. 'And if we can't beat a team like this, I don't think there is any future for Hong Kong soccer.'
There was good news for the team when it was announced Ghana-born forward Godfred Karikari would be able to make his debut after receiving a last-minute clearance from the Ghana Football Association.
Hong Kong last met Singapore in 2006, also in an international friendly, when the score was 1-1.