By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - "Two games, two goals. A goal every 10 minutes. What's all the fuss about?" - Waitakere United player-coach Neil Emblen, fresh from a couple of brief but productive cameo appearances, can joke about missed chances.
But he knows that his team will have to make the most of the chances they get when they play Auckland City in a 4pm ASB Premiership game at Fred Taylor Park on Sunday.
The Westies beat Otago United last week to keep their perfect record intact but, despite creating a host of chances, they needed a last-gasp conversion by Emblen for their 3-1 margin.
The cross-town rivals have met twice already with Waitakere winning the ASB Premiership game in Sandringham and sharing the points in an O-League fixture at The Fred.
"All the players know each other really well and the two clubs tend to raise the bar," said Emblen. "It's on the day who comes out on top. I thought they won more individual battles last time we met.
"We've got a lot of attacking-minded players but we need to take the chances we create. The defence has conceded only five goals in eight games, so we're harder to score against this year."
Emblen is still without Martin Bullock, Neil Sykes, Sean Lovemore and Luis Del Monte. But there were no new casualties.
Auckland City co-coach Aaron McFarland has ended his role with New Zealand Football to concentrate on the Kiwitea St job. He was pleased at the way his team played in the 2-1 victory in Christchurch last Sunday.
The win sees them in third place, more familiar territory than the mid-table mediocrity earlier in the season.
"I'm really pleased with the progression of games as the players adjust well to their roles on the pitch," said McFarland. "It's always an even game against Waitakere and it might come down to a couple of individual errors.
"The players put a lot of pressure on themselves. They've got a point to prove and there's a lot of pride. There's a big psychological boost for the winners."
The down side from that win in Christchurch was a two-yellow red card for new Spanish striker Manel Exposito, who will be suspended this game. As some compensation, Luis Corrales is due back from Costa Rica, where he has been home on holiday.
Nothing would please the fans at Kiwitea Street more than for their team to end Waitakere's season-long winning streak in the Premiership.
But they may be in suspense until the final whistle - "Beware the secret weapon sitting on the bench!"
Luiz del MONTE (injured), Sean LOVEMORE (injured).
Manuel EXPOSITO (suspended)
Liam LITTLE (unavailable), Martin BULLOCK is one week away from his recovery from a medial ligament injury. Neil SYKES has two weeks on the sidelines with a calf injury.
World Cup All White Ivan VICELICH makes his first appearance in a 'Super City' derby since last yea's 1-1 draw at Fred Taylor Park when Chad COOMBES scored for the visitors.
Waitakere are the form side in the ‘Super City’ derby with five wins, a draw and one defeat in their previous seven regular season ASB Premiership showdowns with their cross town rivals. The last time Waitakere United lost at home to Auckland City was the 2008-09 Grand Final in which City prevailed 2-1.
You have to reach back to 2005-06 to register Auckland City’s last regular season ASB Premiership victory over Waitakere United in the ‘Super City’ derby. Auckland defeated Waitakere 2-1 in Round 21 to complete a hat-trick of derby wins en route to their second consecutive national title.
ASB Premiership - Week 11
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
1- Jacob SPOONLEY (GK)
2- Jason ROWLEY
2- Angel BERLANGA
3- Aaron SCOTT
3- Ian HOGG
4- Tim MYERS
4- Sam CAMPBELL
6- Jack PELTER
6- Stu KELLY
8- Chris BALE
7- James PRITCHETT
10- Allan PEARCE
8- David MULLIGAN
12- Roy KRISHNA
11- Daniel KOPRIVCIC
13- Mike GWYTHER
12- Patrick GEORGE (GK)
16- Neil EMBLEN
13- Alex FENERIDIS
17- Jake BUTLER
14- Adam DICKINSON
18- Zane SOLE
15- Ivan VICELICH (c)
19- Dakota LUCAS
17- Adam McGEORGE
23- Ashton PETT
19- Daniel MORGAN
27- Ross HAVILAND
22- Andrew MILNE
28- Andy RALPH (GK)
23- Adam THOMAS