By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - Speedy striker Roy Krishna will be missing from the Waitakere United lineup when they take on Hawkes Bay United at Fred Taylor Park on Saturday.
Krishna damaged a wrist in a heavy fall in the O-League game against Tefana in Tahiti last weekend.
He was operated on at North Shore Hospital this week and player-coach Neil Emblen believes he could be out of action for up to a month.
The injury was an added setback on top of the 1-3 loss to the Tahitians, which has Waitakere on the back foot to their crosstown rivals, Auckland City, whose O-League game in Noumea was called off. Emblen is keen to move on.
"Our attitude and the way we prepared was excellent, but in the first half we just didn't perform. We trained four times on an artificial surface but they were more used to it and they read the bounces better. Even so we had our chances."
This weekend's ASB Premiership game is vital for both teams. With a win and a decent margin top-placed Waitakere could all but seal the minor premiership. Hawkes Bay are one place out of the playoffs and two points adrift of third-placed Canterbury.
Good news for youngster Sean Lovemore is a further complication for Emblen. The Phoenix have added Lovemore to their squad for their game in Sydney and if he takes the field he could be ineligible for Waitakere.
"It's good for the boy to have the chance and we're preparing as if he won't be available," said Emblen, whose policy of giving youth its chance has paid dividends for most of the season.
Hawke's Bay will want to forget the Napier fixture between the two teams, which Waitakere won 4-0.
"We were exceptionally good that day," said Emblen. "But Hawke's Bay have a good squad and there are players you have to watch. Their results have been inconsistent but this could be a dangerous game for us.
"That said, if we're right, I'd have to back our boys to win. I'd like to get the minor premiership done as soon as possible because Auckland have been showing some good form."
The weekend begins with seven teams still in contention for a place in the playoffs. Hawke's Bay need points to hang on to that chance.
Coach Matt Chandler welcomes back captain Jonathan Taylor, who was suspended for the last game, and Cole Peverley, who has secured a contract in the USA but will play out the season with the Bay.
"We've got to be positive," he said. "We need the points and we've got the ability to get them.
"We're still in the hunt and we've got to get the points. We're not going to try and snatch a draw."
Hawke's Bay United
Waitakere is boosted by the return from suspension of Jack PELTER and Zane SOLE as Ryan de VRIES rejoins the squad after a period overseas.
Jonathan TAYLOR returns from suspension, Tom BISS spell with Wellington Phoenix ‘A’ concludes, while Cole PEVERLEY, like team-mate Danny WILSON, returns from overseas. Matt HASTINGS is also available.
Waitakere United are left counting the cost of last week’s O-League defeat to AS Tefana with Fiji international striker, Roy KRISHNA, missing with a dislocated wrist. Sean LOVEMORE is called up to A-League action the Wellington Phoenix while Anthony HOBBS is left out.
Lucas da SILVA and Ryan MARTIN are not selected. Adam CHANDLER is on the long term injured list. Three players will be the subject of a fitness test before the match day squad is named.
Allan PEARCE will make his 98th ASB Premiership appearance, if selected.
Bill ROBERTSON will make his 47th ASB Premiership appearance, if selected.
Waitakere United is unbeaten in its last eight matches with Hawke’s Bay United, a record that stretches back four years. The Waitakere home record against the Bay is more formidable – Waitakere has never lost to Hawke’s Bay on home soil – eight matches, seven wins and a draw, comprise that record.
Hawke’s Bay United’s best result at Waitakere United was a 0-0 draw earned in 2009. The Bay has beaten Waitakere twice previously but both times in Napier – a 1-0 win in 2005 and a 3-0 win in 2007.
ASB Premiership - Week 14
Hawke's Bay United
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
2- Jason ROWLEY
2- Phil DORAN
3- Aaron SCOTT
3- Marvin EAKINS
4- Tim MYERS
4- Chris GREATHOLDER
5- Jack PELTER
5- Bill ROBERTSON
7- Martin BULLOCK
6- Cole PEVERLEY
8- Chris BALE
7- Scott GANNON
10- Allan PEARCE
8- Leon BIRNIE
13- Mike GWYTHER
10- Matt HASTINGS
14- Tim PAYNE
11- Jarrod SMITH
16- Neil EMBLEN
12- Andy BEVIN
17- Jake BUTLER
13- Danny WILSON
18- Zane SOLE
14- Marama THOMPSON
19- Dakota LUCAS
15- Fergus NEIL
20- Ryan de VRIES
17- David GEAREY
23- Ashton PETT
18- Jonathan TAYLOR (c)
24- Luke ADAMS
20- Chris McIVOR
28- Andy RALPH (GK)
21- Tom BISS
25- Shaun PETA (GK)
- Three to be omitted