By Ian Anderson / asbpremiership.co.nz
HAMILTON - Waikato FC assistant coach Rod Grove believes his side needs to harness its firepower to overcome Canterbury United and stay in the playoff hunt on Saturday.
The hosts at Ngaruawahia's Centennial Park (12.30pm kickoff) desperately need a victory to keep pace with the top four which includes Saturday's opponents.
Grove said while Waikato haven't had many problems finding the net this season, they're still capable of more in front of goal.
"We are creating a lot of chances and admittedly our `goals for' is right up there we'd certainly be in the top four if it came down to that. But we create a huge amount and are not taking as many as we should and we've seen that in the last two weeks in games against Otago and Wellington.
"We coud have killed teams off but have been throwing out lifelines as well as giving away silly goals," Grove said.
Waikato lie in sixth spot, but just three points behind Saturday's visitors and while the Willy Gerdsen-coached side has only won once in their last seven outings, Grove said they were still eyeing the post-season.
"I still think it's going to go down to the wire, but it's absolutely critical we win this weekend."
Waikato have been strengthened by the return of fullback/wide midfielder Tewi te Pou from trials in England but central defender Nick Branch and attacking midfielder Mark Jones are in doubt with injuries.
Canterbury seem certain to be without Aaron Clapham after he joined the Wellington Phoenix this week, which will considerably blunt their attacking potential and set-piece prowess.
Danny Attwell has been ruled out through injury with Ryan Faichnie and Joe Murray added to their squad.
When the two sides met in Christchurch earlier this season, two goals from Waikato's topscorer Milos Nikolic helped the visitors to a 2-2 draw.
Tewi te POU is pencilled in as a potential late addition to the squad after his return from trials in England.
Ryan FAICHNIE and Joe MURRAY drafted into the squad as cover.
Mauri WASI is left out of the Match Day squad.
The Wellington Phoenix signed Canterbury’s All Whites midfielder, Aaron CLAPHAM, in midweek as the Dragons face up to the play-off run-in without arguably their best player. Danny ATTWELL is an injury absentee due to an Achilles injury
Milos NIKOLIC will be eager to add to his impressive goal tally of seven strikes as Waikato FC make a dash for the playoff finish line. NIKOLIC is level on seven goals with Hicham KAMRI of Team Wellington and Russell KAMO of Canterbury United.
Russell KAMO remains in the hunt for the ASB Premiership Golden Boot with seven goals to his name this season - a record equalled by Milos NIKOLIC for Waikato FC.
Waikato FC hold the advantage over Canterbury United in this fixture with four wins, three draws and just a solitary defeat from their last eight encounters both home and away. The last time Waikato FC lost at home to Canterbury United was in 2007 when the visitors grabbed a 1-0 win.
Canterbury’s biggest away win over Waikato FC was a 4-0 thumping back in 2006-07 season. A double by Stu KELLY and goals to Brent FISHER and Henry FA’ARODO sealed the four goal win for the Dragons.
ASB Premiership - Week 14
1- John FLETCHER (GK)
1- Tom BATTY (GK)
2- Maksim MANKO
3- Nick WORTELBOER
4- Ryan ZOGHBY
4- Gareth ROWE
5- Nathan STROM
5- Tom SCHWARZ
6- Nick BRANCH
6- Glen COLLINS
7- Jason HICKS
8- Darren OVERTON
8- Jason McKEOWN
9- Russell KAMO
9- Mark JONES
10- Sam MILES
10- Dan PEAT
11- Ryan FAICHNIE
11- Nathan PALMER
12- Gagame FENI
12- Jack BEGUELY
13- Garry McDERMOTT
14- Joe BRESNAHAN
14- Joe MURRAY
15- Eugene HEERSCHAP
19- Jeremy WILD
17- Milos NIKOLIC
23- Andrew BARTON
18- Phil EDGINTON
25- Andy PITMAN
19- Tim PILKINGTON
20- Sam MARGETTS
22- Alex CARR (GK)
23- Matteo BALLAN
- Three to be omitted