By Ian Anderson / asbpremiership.co.nz
HAMILTON - Waikato FC will look to new signing and former New Zealand U-20 international defender, Phil Edginton, to tighten their defence when they take on third place Team Wellington on Saturday.
Waikato FC start the penultimate home match of their ASB Premiership regular season knowing three points is essential to stay in the playoff reckoning.
The hosts will face Team Wellington at Hamilton's Fred Jones Park on Saturday (12.30pm kickoff) hoping to reverse a form slump that began shortly before Christmas.
Coach Willy Gerdsen may look to new signing Phil Edginton to stiffen a defence that has leaked too many goals in recent encounters.
Edginton left title contenders Auckland City to head down the Bombays and hopefully for the Waikato faithful plug some holes in the back four after they conceded five against Edginton's old side last weekend, two at home to Otago United earlier this month and five away to Youngheart Manawatu in December.
Not helping their cause on Saturday will be the absence of the suspended Nick Branch. Gerdsen has a choice between Edginton, Ryan Zoghby and the experienced Nathan Strom as centre backs against the third-placed visitors, with the only other enforced absence from their sixth-placed squad being suspended midfielder Mark Jones.
However, Team Wellington also have some problems despite being neatly placed to make the post-season.
Wiremu Patrick and George Barbarouses are suspended, Karl Whalen and Jamie Duncan are still in holiday mode while Darren Cheriton is also on the unavailable list for coach Stu Jacobs.
So the visitors may bring Justin Gulley, Waikato youth product Jessie Smith and Peter Halstead with them while Tyler Lissette another Melville United teen who joined the capital's team is battling to overcome a hip injury on his planned return home.
Waikato striker Milos Nikolic will be seeking a goal to push him to the top of the Golden Boot race he shares top spot with Waitakere United's Allan Pearce on seven while Wellington's Hiham Kamri, who netted twice when his side won the clash between the two sides in Wellington earlier this season, is a goal back on six along with Hawke's Bay United's Andy Bevin.
Saturday's visitors certainly have the upper hand over the hosts in their 17 encounters, Waikato have won just three with three draws.
New signing Phil EDGINTON is in line for a Waikato FC debut.
Coach Stu JACOBS drafts Justin GULLEY, Jessie SMITH and Peter HALSTEAD into his squad as cover.
Mark JONES and Nick BRANCH both suspended. Mauri WASI is omitted from the match day squad.
Wiremu PATRICK and George BARBAROUSES are both suspended. Karl WHALEN and Jamie DUNCAN are absent on holiday while Darren CHERITON is listed as unavailable. Alec SOLOMONS is injured with a groin problem
Milos NIKOLIC shares top spot in the ASB Premiership Golden Boot race with seven goals in nine games this season.
Tyler LISSETTE will be assessed closer to Match Day, LISSETTE carries a hip injury. Jamie O’CONNOR is again missing with a hamstring injury.
Waikato FC has managed just one win over Wellington on home soil in six years. Waikato has lost three of its last four home encounters with the capital men. Their latest home victory was a 2-0 win posted in 2008.
Team Wellington has dominated this fixture since it began in 2004 and has enjoyed a fifty percent success rate in the away fixture. Six matches has produced three wins and three defeats. Wellington’s biggest away win over Waikato FC was 5-0, their biggest defeat 6-0.
ASB Premiership - Week 13
Saturday 29th January, 2011
1- John FLETCHER (GK)
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
2- Maksim MANKO
2- Scott ROBSON
4- Ryan ZOGHBY
4- Michael EAGER
5- Nathan STROM
8- Peter HALSTEAD
7- Jason HICKS (c)
9- Romain CORNAND
8- Jason McKEOWN
11- Andrew ABBA
10- Daniel PEAT
12- Emiliano TADO
11- Nathan PALMER (c)
13- Jessie SMITH
12- Jack BEGUELY
14- Hicham KAMRI
14- Joe BRESNAHAN
16- John SUTHERLAND
15- Eugene HEERSCHAP
17- Matthew WILLIAMS
17- Milos NIKOLIC
21- Pomare TE ANAU
18- Phil EDGINTON
22- Justin GULLEY
19- Tim PILKINGTON
23- Ryan CAIN
20- Sam MARGETTS
24- Tyler LISSETTE
22- Alex CARR (GK)
25- Lance RAMAEKERS (GK)
23- Matteo BALLAN
- two to be omitted
- one to be omitted