Superstar playmaker Omar Abdulrahman will not be thrust back into action despite Al Ain’s desire to return to winning ways when they host Fujairah, according to coach Zlatko Dalic.
Abdulrahman, 23, is close to taking the field once again after missing the last three weeks with a hamstring complaint.
Pressure has built up to select him after the Boss went scoreless in their last two games.
They drew their AFC Champions League ope-ner in midweek against Al Shabab Riyadh and lost the first of an Arabian Gulf League double-header at tonight’s opponents 1-0 thanks to old boy Boubacar Sanogo’s strike.
Dalic declared he would only select Abdulrahman when he has received full medical clearance, placing doubt on his involvement at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium ahead of Tuesday’s important continental visit to Iran’s Naft Tehran.
“We must not rush to play him [Abdulrahman] until he reaches the required degree of readiness because we face great challenges in the AFC Champions League and Arabian Gulf League,” the Croatian said.
“The presence of Amoory is important for the team even if they are late for two or three days, it is best to maintain the player.”
Al Ain will definitely be without veteran attacking midfielder Ibrahim Diaky, who is suspended this weekend following an accumulation of yellow cards.
The match against Fujairah (17:35 kick off) will see the Boss fulfil the final game in hand earned during the run to the 2014 ACL semi-finals.
If they avoid successive top-flight losses, they will go first in the standings ahead of long-time leaders Al Jazira.
The absence of goals in their previous fixtures played on Dalic’s mind in his pre-match press conference rather than the allure of top spot.
He said: “We realise that luck abandoned us in the last confrontation between the two teams at their ground. Unfortunately in the last two games we have not succeeded in recording a goal, which we put among the priorities of our attention.
“Certainly, the absence of scoring in two encounters in a row is something strange, because this thing has not happened since I took over the team [last March].
“We are working to strengt-hen the offence during the next stage and realise that Fujairah is a good team.
"They showed the ability to stop our offensive strength at home, also showing proficiency in counter-attacks.”
Meanwhile, Fujairah’s rapid improvement since new coach Ivan Hasek’s arrival in December reached a high point with the triumph against the Boss last time out.
Lebanon striker Hassan Maatouk was buoyed by the run of one defeat in five AGL matches, which has seen the eastern emirate-outfit move eight points clear of the relegation zone.
He said: “All the players are ready and we hope to repeat the scenario from the last game.
“We will fight for the emergence of a distinctive level against a great team like Al Ain. Especially as the game will be played at their ground.”