By Andrew Bailey asbpremiership.co.nz
PALMERSTON NORTH - YoungHeart Manawatu will kick off their 2010/11 ASB Premiership campaign against neighbours Hawkes Bay this Sunday with a home game at Memorial Park.
In a competition without cross-town rivals outside the big two in Auckland, the Manawatu vs. Hawkes Bay clash can legitimately be called a local derby and the record last year was fittingly tight: a 1-0 Manawatu win and a 2-2 draw.
The two sides were also close in the 2009/10 final standings, with Manawatu finishing just a point above Hawkes Bay. Both sides will want to improve on their sixth and seventh placings, however.
There have been plenty of changes in the two squads and both sides will feature players fighting to cement a starting place in the ASB Premiership for the first time.
Hawkes Bay coach Matt Chandler has added six signings over the offseason. Cole Peverley – who went to the World Cup with the All Whites as injury cover for Tim Brown – has returned to Hawkes Bay after a stint at Team Wellington last season.
Midfielders Dan O’Brien and Phil Doran – from the US and the UK respectively – will add quality in a squad that Chandler believes is stronger than last year.
Former MLS and All White striker Jarrod Smith is another big addition for the Bay, but he was withdrawn during last week’s loss to Waitakere after a collision with Martin Bullock and he won’t make the trip down to Palmerston North.
While Hawkes Bay have got their first game out of the way, Sunday will be the first test for a new look Manawatu side.
YoungHeart have lost last season’s golden boot Soroman Seule and his goals will be sorely missed. Manawatu boss Bob Sova, fresh from gaining his UEFA Pro license, has recruited the bulk of his squad locally and he will be looking to blend new talent with the old heads as quickly as possible.
Returning Irish centre back Colin Falvey and his partnership with captain Adam Cowan at the back will the basis of a side that Sova will be hoping proves tough to break down.
It will be largely up to Jason Hayne to provide the attacking spark. Manawatu fans will be hoping Hayne’s second spell with his hometown club is as successful as his first, when he was golden boot as YoungHeart went to the semi finals.
The two sides met in preseason when Hawkes Bay ran out 3-0 winners, but Chandler isn’t reading much into that.
“It’s all about what both sides have done since then. Manawatu always do well and it’ll be tough, but in saying that we’re looking forward to the challenge and we’ll be looking to pick up the points on Sunday.”
“We were disappointed with how we played last weekend and we want to show we’re a better side than that.”
Hawkes Bay did it tough in their opening game against the champions last week; they’ll be hoping they can put together a performance to ensure Manawatu endure a similarly difficult first-up home game.
For Manawatu – one of only three sides still waiting to get their season underway – the opening fixture will bring a healthy slice of the unknown.
The new faces in the squad will be hoping to make a good first impression in front of the home crowd, but the most interested spectator at Memorial Park will be coach Bob Sova as he tries to build a side that can replicate the 2009/10 squad’s run to the semis.
Hawke's Bay United
Dan WILSON, Adam CHANDLER and Tom BISS are drafted in to cover for injuries.
Jarrod SMITH hamstring injury
Nick MORATH, Michael McKNIGHT, Dale HIGHAM, Nick HAYWARD, Jared BLOOR and Matt BORREN are poised to make their ASB Premiership debut. Adam COWAN makes his 110th ASB Premiership career appearance. Jason HAYNE makes his 86th ASB Premiership career appearance.
Cole PEVERLEY will make his 50th ASB Premiership appearance, if selected.
YoungHeart Manawatu recorded their biggest ever derby victory over Hawke’s Bay United when they thrashed the visitors 8-1 in 2006. However, Manawatu has won only one of its last four derby matches with Hawke’s Bay United at home. Last season a goal by Vanuatu international Seule SOROMON gave Manawatu a 1-0 win.
Hawke’s Bay United have played YoungHeart Manawatu in Palmerston North on nine previous occasions with three wins and six defeats. Hawke’s Bay lost their first five visits to YoungHeart Manawatu and includes an 1-8 defeat recorded in 2006.
ASB Premiership - Week Three
Hawke's Bay United
Sunday 7 November, 2010
1-Matt BORREN (GK)
1-Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
4- Colin FALVEY
5- Josh CHETTLEBURGH
5- Bill ROBERTSON
6- Matt KENNEDY
7- Matt HASTINGS
7- Jason HAYNE
8- Leon BIRNIE
8- Nathan COOKSLEY
10- Dan O'BRIEN
9- Michael WHITE
11- Cole PEVERLEY
10- Adam COWAN
12- Andy BEVIN
12- Nathan MORATH
13- Dan WILSON
14- Michael McKNIGHT
14- Marama THOMPSON
18- Dale HIGHAM
15- Joachim RANDE
19- Nick HAYWARD (GK)
16- Adam CHANDLER
20- Willie HODGE
17- Tom BISS
21- Jared BLOOR
18- Jonathan TAYLOR
24- Graham CRAVEN
19- Dan BALL
20- Chris McIVOR
25- Shaun PETA (GK)