Paartalu’s plight hands Safuwan his Derby debut

Saturday’s Melbourne Derby saw the debut of Singaporean starlet Safuwan Baharudin and the young defender did not look out of place for most of the match, replacing the injured Erik Paartalu.

The surprise inclusion came after Paartalu failed to recover from a knock to his calf picked up from last Sunday’s match against the Western Sydney Wanderers. Safuwan received the news about his start on Friday and Head Coach John van’t Schip felt the match was a tricky enviroment for the defender to make his debut.

“He played in that position where he (played last),” van’t Schip said.

“We had him over in Abu Dhabi and we knew he could do that so and we didn’t want to change that much, he is a player who’s character fits for that position but that’s also a bit of a risk.”

Safuwan played 60 minutes, replaced by Josh Kennedy in the second half, but van’t Schip felt that the Singaporean has the ability to surprise many in the Hyundai A-League.

“Safuwan I think is a very positive player,” van’t Schip said.

“He can play in different positions as a full-back, as a centre-back and in the midfield.

“He has to get used to his own teammates and secondly to this league but he is a player we rate highly and for what we saw, we think he can make big steps.”

Safuwan and Melbourne City FC will look to bounce back this weekend as they take on Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Saturday, kick-off 3pm AEDT