THE Philippine Azkals are set to field a full-strength side on Wednesday night against neighbor Malaysia in an international friendly at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Javier Patino and Daisuke Sato will all be back in Azkals duty against a tricky Harimao side in the first international window of the year.
The three were noticeably absent from the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup last year due to club duties - Etheridge was with third-tier English club Walsal, Patino was playing in China for Henan Jiaye, and Sato for Politehnica Ia?i in Romania.
Their return should come as a timely boost to the preparation of the Azkals for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, specifically a game against Nepal in the same venue next week.
Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband will also be available along with mainstays Misagh Bahadoran, Manny Ott, Amani Aguinaldo and Dennis Villanueva.
The Philippines is Grouped F in the qualifiers alongside Middle East squad Tajikistan, Nepal and Yemen. The home-and-away qualifiers will run up until next year with the top two teams in the group qualifying for the second round.