By Kelvin Wescombe www.asbpremiership.co.nz
PALMERSTON NORTH – The search for points gets tougher for YoungHeart Manawatu as unbeaten defending champions Waitakere United roll into Palmerston North eager for another victory this Sunday.
Waitakere United are red-hot favourites with three wins from three matches and an undefeated record in the OFC Champions League.
Neil Emblen’s team also comes into the match after a morale-boosting 3-1 derby win over cross-city rivals Auckland City but may struggle without the vastly experiencedmidfielder Martin Bullock.
With Bullock injured, all eyes will be on veteran Waitakere United midfielder Neil Sykes, who will clock up his 100th career appearance in the ASB Premiership.
The former Auckland City midfielder has endured a stop-start beginning to the new season due to injury and suspension, but is on target to join Adam Cowan, Chad Coombes and Grant Young as members of an elite ‘100 cap’ club.
With Sykes looking to celebrate a personal milestone with a win, YoungHeart Manawatu is still chasing its first points of the season.
An inexperienced YoungHeart Manawatu although not outclassed in their two outings, still remain rooted to the bottom of the table goalless and without a point.
Coach Bob Sova will be looking to build off a strong defensive performance against second placed Canterbury last week and hope that handing debuts to a clutch of youngsters yields points sooner rather than later.
One player who stood out last week was goalkeeper Matt Borren, the former number two to Chris Marsh and Ross Nicholson, underlining his readiness for the step up in status.
YoungHeart’s own ASB Premiership centurion Adam Cowan and the vastly experienced Jason Hayne will again be vital to the home side’s hopes of taking something tangible from the match.
The action gets underway at Memorial Park, Palmerston North, on Sunday 21 November, 2010, at 2pm.
Michael WHITE returns from suspension.
Jack HOBSON-McVEIGH, Neil SYKES and Jonno ROSS join the squad.
Martin BULLOCK and Andy RALPH miss out through injury. Liam LITTLE is unavailable.
Michael WHITE will make his 40th ASB Premiership appearance, if selected. WHITE has three career goals. Jason HAYNE will make his 89th ASB Premiership appearance, if selected. HAYNE has scored 29 career goals.
Neil SYKES will make his 100th ASB Premiership career appearance, if selected. SYKES has scored 15 career goals. JAKE BUTLER and AARON SCOTT will make their 80th ASB Premiership career appearances, if selected. BUTLER has 10 career goals, SCOTT two. Allan PEARCE will make his 90th ASB Premiership career appearance, if selected. PEARCE has scored 41 career goals.
Manawatu has won one, drawn one and lost eight of its last ten showdowns with the defending champions. Manawatu last tasted a home success over Waitakere United when they defeated the visitors 3-2 back in 2007-08 season.
Waitakere United has won four, drawn one and lost three of its last eight visits to Palmerston North. No match between the two teams in Palmerston North has been won by any margin greater than a single goal.
ASB Premiership - Week Five
Memorial Park, Palmerston North
Sunday 21 November, 2010
1- Matt BORREN (GK)
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
4- Colin FALVEY
2- Jason ROWLEY
5- Josh CHETTLEBURGH
3- Aaron SCOTT
6- Matt KENNEDY
4- Tim MYERS
7- Jason HAYNE
6- Jack PELTER
8- Nathan COOKSLEY
8- Chris BALE
9- Michael WHITE
10- Allan PEARCE
10- Adam COWAN (C)
11- Neil SYKES
11- Hamish MacKAY
12- Roy KRISHNA
14- Michael McKNIGHT
13- Mike GWYTHER
16- Michael FRASER
16- Neil EMBLEN
18- Dale HIGHAM
17- Jake BUTLER
19- Ben WILKES (GK)
18- Zane SOLE
20- Willie HODGE
19- Dakota LUCAS
21- Jared BLOOR
20- Ryan de VRIES
22- Greg O'CONNOR
25- Sean LOVEMORE
26- Jack HOBSON-McVEIGH
28- Jonno ROSS (GK)