By David Gearey / asbpremiership.co.nz
NAPIER - They may be 180km apart geographically but when YoungHeart Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay United face each other local derby rules apply – there is no quarter asked and none given.
Hawke’s Bay will be looking to re-gather some momentum when they take on the cellar dwellers. With only six matches remaining in the regular season the points are becoming ever more important if they are to be contenders for one of the top four playoff positions.
Bay‘s coach Matt Chandler has looked over the ditch to strengthen his squad and during the Christmas break he has signed Australian age group representative Scott Gannon for the remainder of the ASB Premiership season.
Gannon joined the side last week and only an administrative delay with his international clearance will prevent him making his ASB Premiership debut this weekend.
Gannon is under no illusions that he is here for one reason - to help his side push for that elusive playoff berth.
“With the mentality of the coaching staff and the attitude and the ability of the lads, I believe we can grab a top four spot and hit the semi finals in some good form” Gannon said.
After watching his side fail to capitalise on a strong performance against Waikato FC the previous weekend, the Australian still had positive things to say about his team mates.
“I thought the lads played well and I’m sure this week we will bounce back and get the three points. This league is at a good level and doesn’t get the credit it deserves” Gannon said.
The attacking midfielder will be hoping all the paper work is through come Sunday to take on a struggling YoungHeart Manawatu side who have started to find the back of the net of late.
Seven goals scored in the last two games has certainly added some motivation to the YoungHeart camp and they will make the trip north high on confidence and looking to topple their rival neighbours.
One player who has been instrumental in the late revival is former Hawke’s Bay United striker Jason Hayne. After having a hand in 5 off those 7 goals, Hayne will be wanting to inflict more misery on his former side.
“I think you always have to be confident where ever you go in this league but you can never be over confident. These are always hard derby games and I’m sure this game will be no different with a lot of feeling after the late goal Hawke’s Bay scored at Memorial Park earlier this season,” Hayne said.
Manawatu will be making the short trip to the East Coast in search of nothing more than all three points if they have any chance of turning their season around in dramatic style. They sit a disappointing seven points outside the top four but as history shows things can turn around in an instant.
“I think we have to maintain a positive attitude and believe in ourselves and our ability. We just have to treat every game like it’s a final now because the 3 points are so important to us”
So both sides will be desperate for all the spoils this Sunday as they don’t want to drop further of the playoff pace. Matt Chandler will be hoping he has a full quota of players to pick from and break their three match league losing streak.
YoungHeart Manawatu on the other hand will be looking to pick up points for the second time this season and start clawing back the other teams in the hunt to turn their season around.
All the ingredients for a spectacular game of football have been added and now its time to put them in the mix. Kick off is this Sunday 2pm at Park Island.
Hawke's Bay United
Marama THOMPSON returns from suspension while former Australia age-group international Scott GANNON awaits an international transfer clearance before he can make his Hawke’s Bay United and ASB Premiership debut.
Coach Bob SOVA welcomes back former Otago United defender Colin FALVEY to bolster his backline.
Leon BIRNIE remains on the injured list with a stress fracture to his foot. Injury concerns mean Hawke’s Bay name an enlarged match day squad pending fitness tests.
Greg O’CONNER, Khair JONES, Nathan MORATH, Nick HAYWARD and Graham CRAVEN remain long term injuries for Manawatu.
Remarkably, Hawke’s Bay United’s last ASB Premiership win over YoungHeart Manawatu was a 4-3 win back in 2004-05 season. Since then, Hawke’s Bay has drawn three and lost two of their previous five derby matches with Manawatu on home soil. Hawke’s Bay’s Chris McIVOR scored a 90th minute winner in a 1-0 triumph over Manawatu in Week 3.
YoungHeart Manawatu remains unbeaten in away matches with Hawke’s Bay United since 2005. In their previous five away matches, YoungHeart Manawatu has won two and drawn three in the Bay, their biggest victory a 4-1 win back in Round 3 of the 2005-06 season.
Hawke's Bay United
Sunday 16 January, 2011
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
1- Matt BORREN (GK)
2- Phil DORAN
2- Nobu ISHI
3- Marvin EAKINS
3- Matt SMITH
4- Chris GREATHOLDER
4- Colin FALVEY
5- Bill ROBERTSON
5- Josh CHETTLEBURGH
7- Matt HASTINGS
7- Jason HAYNE
10- Dan O'BRIEN
8- Nathan COOKSLEY
11- Cole PEVERLEY
9- Michael WHITE
12- Andy BEVIN
10- Adam COWAN (c)
15- Scott GANNON
11- Hamish MacKAY
16- Adam CHANDLER
16- Michael FRASER
17- Tom BISS
17- Brook TOZER
18- Jonathan TAYLOR (c)
18- Dale HIGHAM
19- Dan BALL
19- Ben WILKES (GK)
20- Chris McIVOR
20- Willie HODGE
22- Ryan MARTIN
21- Jared BLOOR
23- Jarrod SMITH
25- Jono STEELE
25- Shaun PETA (GK)
Squad composition subject to fitness test