By David Gearey / www.asbpremiership.co.nz
NAPIER - Hawke's Bay United and Team Wellington will look to springboard out of reach of their play-off rivals when the two teams meet in the ASB Premiership at Bluewater Stadium on Sunday.
The home side haven’t lost since the opening round and will look to continue that form when they host Team Wellington.
Hawke's Bay's Matt Chandler would have welcomed the weekend off last week to let some key players recover from niggling injuries that has forced him to use 20 players in his match day squads since the start of the season.
Team Wellington however would have preferred continuous games as they have come into some goal scoring form of late with back to back wins over Waikato and Otago respectively.
They found the net six times in those matches and they are now hitting their straps prior to the end of the year break with striker John Sutherland in red hot form.
Karl Whalen, Captain of Team Wellington notched up his 100 ASB Premiership appearance against Otago and he knows how important it is for his side to continue their form heading into the short break.
“This league is very tight and if we really want to be in the top few teams, we must earn the right to be up there by getting some consistency in our results”
“But to be fair we are a very new squad compared to the 'TW' of old. Just like a Mainland cheese, good things take time."
“Now it’s about us trusting our style of play and putting the hard work in, to ensure we continue to improve” , Whalen said.
Hawke's Bay will again be without key players like Leon Birnie who is awaiting scan results on an injured foot and American import Dan O'Brien underwent surgery during the week to remove his appendix. The return to full fitness of Jarrod Smith however will be seen as a great advantage for the Bay side.
One player that has been consistently in form for Hawke's Bay is centre back Bill Robertson. He has been dominant in and around his defensive zone and his side are still to concede on the road. The former Canterbury captain knows clean sheets now need to be obtained on home soil.
“I always try to perform consistently, and as a central defender I believe it’s essential for the team that I do so”
“Our defensive record away from home has been excellent, and in order to achieve a top four finish it is vital we start to keep those clean sheets at home and make Bluewater Stadium a difficult place for opponents to score goals and pick up points," Robertson said.
With Park Island's Bluewater Stadium continuing its trend the forecast for this weekend is for sun, goals and action aplenty. Kick off on Sunday is at the earlier time of 1pm.
Hawke's Bay United
Dan O’BRIEN and Dan BALL drop out of the squad that played Auckland a fortnight ago while Ryan MARTIN and/or Adam CHANDLER come in to the squad depending on the outcome a fitness test on former MLS striker Jarrod SMITH.
George BARBAROUSES has been added to Team Wellington’s player roster and has gone straight into the matchday 16 to face his old club
Another former Hawke’s Bay player, striker Andrew ABBA, misses that opportunity.
Hawke's Bay United has never beaten Team Wellington on home ground since the ASB Premiership started in 2004. The record reads no wins, four draws and four defeats in eight matches. Hawke's Bay United's biggest win over Team Wellington was a 5-2 triumph posted in 2008-09 season.
Team Wellington holds sway in the Bay and has never lost a match to their hosts away from home. Team Wellington's biggest win over Hawke's Bay United was a 7-0 demolition posted in 2007.
Hawke's Bay United
ASB Premiership - Week 8
Sunday 12 December, 2010
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
2- Phil DORAN
2- Scott ROBSON
3- Marvin EAKINS
3- Jamie DUNCAN
5- Bill ROBERTSON
4- Michael EAGAR
7- Matt HASTINGS
7- Wiremu PATRICK
11- Cole PEVERLEY
10- Michael FIFII
12- Andy BEVIN
12- Emiliano TADO
13- Dan WILSON
13- Karl WHALEN (C)
14- Marama THOMPSON
14- Hicham KAMRI
15- Joachim RANDE
17- Matthew WILLIAMS
16- Adam CHANDLER
18- Darren CHERITON
18- Jonathan TAYLOR (C)
19- George BARBAROUSES
20- Chris McIVOR
21- Pomare TE ANAU
21- Peter DORAN
23- Ryan CAIN
22- Ryan SMITH
24- Tyler LISSETTE
23- Jarrod SMITH
25- Lance RAMAEKERS (GK)
25- Shaun PETA (GK)