By Rab Smith / asbpremiership.co.nz
DUNEDIN - Otago United's Andy Coburn will clock up his 100th ASB Premiership appearance for Malcolm Fleming's side when the Southerners tackle play-off chasing Hawke's Bay United in Dunedin on Sunday.
Coburn - a fierce competitor - has rarely suffered from injury, is the first name on the Otago United teamcard and has a knack for scoring vital goals.
And Otago coach Malcolm Fleming will not object if Coburn celebrates his 100th game with a goal or two against Hawke's Bay this weekend.
Fleming said, "Andy has scored more than a few important goals for Otago over the years. He’s been a great servant to the Province, and must be one of our most popular players."
"He intends to head for Australia later this year on a job transfer, but we hope that he finishes the ASB Premiership with us – preferably competing in the finals.
Otago's campaign received a further boost with two new signings secured in the transfer window.
Chris Anderson, a tall striker who played for Christchurch United who Fleming hopes will more than fill the gap left by Nathan Knox.
Anderson is joined by James Govan who created real impact a few seasons ago, but injuries stymied the striker's progress.
Govan has recaptured his form and pace and is back in the mix.
Fleming said,"We start without the injured pair of Paul Seaman and Alistair Rickerby, in-form defender Tom Connor is suspended – so it will yet another re-shuffle."
"The squad realizes just how important this match is. Win and we take another step towards the play-offs. And even then, we must keep winning to break clear from the pack."
Similar thoughts may run through the mind of Hawke's Bay coach Matt Chandler whose team sits three important points ahead of Otago.
Leon Birnie is set to make his return to the ASB Premiership after a stress fracture to his left foot. Birnie will undergo a fitness test before his confirmation in the Match Day is made.
David Gearey makes a comeback with Dan Ball and Ryan Martin also in contention from the club’s academy set-up.
All White midfielder Cole Peverley has departed for a trial with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders and Adam Chandler and Tom Biss are deselected as part of coach Matt Chandler’s academy rotation policy.
However, Hawke’s Bay still has the talismanic Andy Bevin in its ranks, the youngster who scored a hat-trick in Bays 3-2 home win over Otago United in the first round of the ASB Premiership.
Sunday's kicks off at 12pm at Tahuna Park, Dunedin.
Hawke's Bay United
New signings Chris ANDERSON and James GOVAN are drafted into the Otago United squad as coach Malcolm FLEMING and his team embark on a series of vital home matches in the play-off run-in
David GEAREY makes a comeback with Dan BALL and Ryan MARTIN also in contention from the club’s academy set-up.
Tom CONNOR is suspended while the influential Paul SEAMAN and Alastair RICKERBY are both injured.
All White midfielder Cole PEVERLEY has departed for a trial with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders as Adam CHANDLER and Tom BISS are deselected as part of coach Matt CHANDLER’s academy rotation policy.
Andy COBURN will make his 100th ASB Premiership appearance, if selected.
Leon BIRNIE is set to make his return to the ASB Premiership after a stress fracture to his left foot. BIRNIE will undergo a fitness test before his confirmation in the Match Day is made
Otago United has beaten Hawke’s Bay United only once at home in eight previous matches in the South Island. That was a 1-0 victory recorded last season.
Hawke’s Bay United has four wins, three draws and one defeat in eight visits to Otago United since 2004-05. In the previous nine matches both home and away, Hawke’s Bay United has won eight and lost only one versus Otago United.
ASB Premiership - Week 12
Hawke's Bay United
1- Adam HIGHFIELD (GK)
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
6- Tom SADD
2- Phil DORAN
9- Aaron BURGESS
3- Marvin EAKINS
10- Phil RUGGLES
4- Chris GREATHOLDER
11- Andy COBURN
5- Bill ROBERTSON
12- James REICHWIEN
7- Scott GANNON
13- Callum FLAWS (GK)
8- Leon BIRNIE
16- James GOVAN
10- Matt HASTINGS
17- Tim HORNER (c)
12- Andy BEVIN
18- Harley RODEKA
14- Marama THOMPSON
19- Chris ANDERSON
18- Jonathan TAYLOR (c)
20- Matt BROOK
19- Dan BALL
21- Liam LOCKHART
20- Chris McIVOR
23- Ant HANCOCK
22- Ryan MARTIN
26- Tristan PRATTLEY
23- Jarrod SMITH
27- Morgan DAY
25- Shaun PETA (GK)