By David Gearey / asbpremiership.co.nz
NAPIER - If history has anything to go by there should be goals galore when Hawke’s Bay put their playoff credentials to the test when they face an ailing Auckland City at Park Island on Sunday.
Hawke’s Bay United have adopted a “go out and attack” approach in their home matches this season that has produced a total of 9 goals.
Memories of last season’s encounter when Auckland City disposed of Hawke’s Bay with a clinical and efficient 6-1 thrashing as they went on to secure the minor premiership still linger.
In addition, it’s been nearly three years since the last time Hawke’s Bay beat Auckland City at home, a 2-0 win under the guidance of Bobby Gould.
With those facts in mind, Hawke’s Bay’s Matt Chandler may well choose to adopt the defensive tactics used on the road, an approach which has seen his side concede no goals on their travels.
“Reality is we drew too many games last year and we need to play a attacking positive game,” Chandler said, “We have a number of attack minded players, but against a team like Auckland we must be resilient in our defending and we are very aware of the threat we face and have to deal with.”
Chandler is eager to see his side continue their good form which has seen Hawke’s Bay enjoy their best ever start to a season.
“We brought in around six new faces. But maintain a nucleus of key players from last season and added some youngsters with potential. I definitely think that we are coming together and forming into a tight unit of players,” said Chandler.
Meanwhile Bluewater Stadium might just be the backdrop Auckland City are looking for to kick start their campaign with goals difficult to come by.
Just four goals in as many matches, with three of them coming against Waikato in their Week 1 fixture is a poor return for a club that has enjoyed the talents of Keryn Jordan, Grant Young and Paul Urlovic for the past six seasons.
“Auckland City has had the luxury in the past of some of the best marksman in this country and replacing them is not easy,” Co-coach Aaron McFarland said.
However , McFarland believes Bluewater Stadium is just the place for his side to kick start their season.
“We feel comfortable with the performances of the team to date and know it is just a matter of time before we find a regular way of getting the ball in the net,” McFarland said, “The team is looking forward to this fixture and will enjoy the challenges that the extra space that Bluewater Stadium provides.”
Both teams come into the match missing key personnel.
Auckland will be without Costa Rican marksman Luis Corrales while Hawke’s Bay are still missing the services of key attacking duo Leon Birnie and Jarrod Smith, Smith facing a late fitness test before Sunday’s fixture.
Hawke's Bay United
Phil DORAN and Jarrod SMITH (pending late fitness test)
Ryan MARTIN, Leon BIRNIE (injured)
Hawke's Bay United captain Jonathan TAYLOR will make his 50th ASB Premiership career appearance, if selected. TAYLOR has scored two goals.
Auckland City captain James PRITCHETT will make his 94th ASB Premiership career appearance, if selected.
Hawke’s Bay United’s only two wins over Auckland City both took place on home soil – a 4-2 win in 2004-05 season and a 2-0 win in 2007-08. Hawke’s Bay United have won just once in their last fourteen matches with Auckland City.
Auckland City has won six, drawn one and lost two to Hawke’s Bay United away from home in the ASB Premiership. Last season Auckland City posted a 6-1 victory over Hawke’s Bay United – their biggest ever win over Hawke’s Bay is 6-0 recorded in 2006. Auckland City has an average goals per game ratio in matches with Hawke’s Bay United is 2.81.
Hawke's Bay United
ASB Premiership - Week 6
Sunay 28 November, 2010
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
1- Jacob SPOONLEY
2- Phil DORAN
2- Angel BERLANGA
3- Marvin EAKINS
3- Ian HOGG
5- Bill ROBERTSON
4- Sam CAMPBELL
7- Matt HASTINGS
5- Phil EDINGTON
9- Peter DORAN
6- Stu KELLY
10- Dan O'BRIEN
7- James PRITCHETT
11- Cole PEVERLEY
8- David MULLIGAN
12- Andy BEVIN
11- Daniel KOPRIVCIC
13- Dan WILSON
12- Patrick GEORGE (GK)
14- Marama THOMPSON
13- Alex FENERIDIS
15- Joachim RANDE
14- Adam DICKINSON
18- Jonathan TAYLOR (C)
16- Takayuki OMI
19- Dan BALL
17- Adam McGEORGE
20- Chris McIVOR
19- Daniel MORGAN
23- Jarrod SMITH
23- Adam THOMAS
25- Shaun PETA (GK)