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Hougang's Delwinder sees Plazibat as winner against Balestier in S.League

Delwinder Singh is confident his Hougang United teammate Stipe Plazibat has the makings of a golden boot winner, and is banking on the striker to see off Balestier Khalsa in their S.League clash on Saturday.

The former Young Lions defender has played a starring role for Hougang this season at centre-back, helping his side to fourth place with seven points in four matches but knows that it is too early in the season to give himself a pat on the back.

"This has been a good start for the team and myself," Delwinder told ESPN FC. "For a relatively new team, I think we're on the right track but let's not get complacent here.

"How many times have we seen teams doing well at the start of the season, only to disappear towards the end. So we evaluate in November, not now."

Up against a winless Balestier side on home soil, it will be perfect opportunity for Hougang to claim victory and move up to 10 points before the international break.

Marko Krajlevic's charges have had a stop-start season, and will be reeling from a 1-0 loss in the AFC Cup to Kaya FC in the Philippines. Add key striker Robert Pericic's long-term injury to the list and it points to a home win.

"I've seen Balestier a couple of times this season and there are no stars in that team," the 24-year-old defender explained.

"They play as a very tight unit but when you have players like Jamil [Ali], Fazli [Ayob] and Zulkiffli] Hassim in the team, they can hurt you going forward so we must not let them out of sight.

"One player who we may have to watch even closer is [Miroslav] Kristic. He is a huge threat in the air as compared to his teammates but if we stick to our game plan, I'm sure we can give him a good fight and get the job done."

While Kristic -- 23 goals for Balestier last season -- is on Delwinder's mind, he knows that the visitors will be worried about his teammate, Plazibat, who is joint top scorer in the S.League, with Albirex Niigata's Atsushi Kawata with four goals.

The Croatian hitman has found the back of the net in all four games he has played in, and is fast gaining reputation as one of the top foreign stars making their S.League debuts this year.

"Stipe has to be our best player so far. His composure and brilliant link-up play has been a huge, huge asset for the team and I'm pleased for him that he is joint top scorer so far this season." Delwinder added.

"He has this burning desire to win games, score goals and do well, and that has rubbed off on the entire team. But having said that, he wouldn't have scored those goals if not for the Hougang teammates who have provided him with the ammunition. So like I said, Hougang will always be a team who fight for one another. No individuals around here."

Having tasted international football with Singapore on five occasions, Delwinder, who made his Lions debut against the Philippines in 2011, is quietly hopeful that he will have a chance to add to that tally soon.

"I was a bundle of nerves when coach Raddy [Radojko Avramovic] called me to get ready to go on as a substitute. All I remember was getting up and putting on my shin pads, everything else after that was a blur," he said.

"That feeling of playing for Singapore, the flag on your chest is hard to describe. Once you've tasted it, you want it to keep happening again and again.

"All I can do is play to my very best at Hougang, and hopefully the call will come. It doesn't matter where in defence I play. I admit that I prefer centre-back because it allows me to see everything in front of me clearer, but be it right-back or left-back, I'll take it."

Hougang finished bottom last season, but under new coach K. Balagumaran, they have a chance to temporarily go top of the S.League standings with a win over Balestier, while results from other games go their way.