By David Cross / asbpremiership.co.nz
WELLINGTON - Team Wellington will look to recapture that winning feeling when an in-form Hawke's Bay side hits the capital chasing their first visit to the ASB Premiership playoffs.
Having beaten Team Wellington in Wellington the last two times they have met, Matt Chandlers boys are on track to give the home side something to think about after last weekend’s upset 2-1 win over Waitakere in Auckland.
"Last week was enjoyable. We headed to Waitakere having lost 2-1 to Canterbury and we were disappointed. We looked at ourselves during the week and made a few changes and it was great to go to Waitakere and get a result. Better than that, though I think we deserved it. Jarrod Smith got a couple of great individual goals last week," said Chandler.
Chandler is also looking forward to renew his rivalry with Wellington coach Stu Jacobs.
"It will be an interesting game with Team Wellington already in the play-offs and us knowing that is where we want to be. We won't be underestimating them in any shape or form. It will be an attacking open game, it is how both teams play and should be well worth checking out," Chandler said.
Hawke's Bay do have injury concerns though, while he welcomes Cole Peverley back from injury before Peverley heads to the US to take up contract with Charleston Battery at the end of the season, the Bay will be without some useful talent. Bill Robertson is out with a broken hand, Leon Birnie's recurring foot injury woes continue and left back Phil Doran is described as doubtful.
Stu Jacobs remembers Team Wellington's game in Auckland last week, but not with the same fondness as Chandler - Team Wellington lost 2-0 to Auckland City at Kiwitea Street.
"I’m not sure we were as good as we have been last week in Auckland so this week is about getting the focus back and playing like we know we can," Jacobs said.
Hawke's Bay's result didn't escape Jacobs attention either.
"Hawkes Bay’s result last week was great for them and a reminder that you can’t take any team in the ASB Premiership lightly," Jacobs warned. "It will be good to be home. We’ve missed our home pitch and comforts, but our attitude is the same no matter where we play."
One major loss for the local side is Michael Eagar who has headed to Australia for university and Brisbane Premier League football.
"Michael leaves us with a hole, but we’ve got some great youngsters starting to make a mark and I have faith in them to fill it. I wish Michael all the best, he’s been a great servant of Team Wellington even though he’s still very young. Now it’s a chance for someone else to step up and become the capital’s next Michael Eagar."
The chance for local football fans to get along and see if they can spot the next Wellington star is 3pm on Sunday 20 February, 2011, at Newtown Park.
Hawke's Bay United
All White midfielder, Cole PEVERLEY, returns from injury alongside veteran attacker, Chris McIVOR, both timely additions with the play-off run in well underway.
Michael EAGAR has left the club and moved to Australia while import Matthew Williams has also returned to the USA.
Leon BIRNIE’s recurring foot injury means another injury enforced break for the talismanic forward. BIRNIE is joined on the sidelines by Bill ROBERTSON who has a fractured hand.
Jamie O’CONNOR remains absent with a hamstring injury.
Adam CHANDLER is still on the injured list after a work place accident.
Wellington’s last home win over Hawke’s Bay United was in 2007 when the capital men edged the Bay 4-3. That win brought to an end a five match winning streak at home and heralded a run of two home losses that include last season’s 0-1 defeat and a 2-5 thumping in 2009.
Hawke’s Bay has won on their last two visits to Wellington. Curiously, Hawke’s Bay has lost its last three home matches to the capital men, suggesting they travel better in this fixture than when they play host. Hawke’s Bay’s biggest defeat to Wellington in the capital was a 0-7 thrashing suffered in 2007.
Hawke's Bay United
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
2- Scott ROBSON
2- Phil DORAN
3- Jamie DUNCAN
3- Marvin EAKINS
6- Mikey HALIKAIAS
4- Chris GREATHOLDER
7- Wiremu PATRICK
6- Cole PEVERLEY
9- Romain CORNAND
7- Scott GANNON
10- Michael FIFII
8- Lucus da SILVA
11- Andrew ABBA
10- Matt HASTINGS
12- Emiliano TADE
11- Jarrod SMITH
13- Karl WHALEN (c)
12- Andy BEVIN
14- Hicham KAMRI
13- Danny WILSON
16- John SUTHERLAND
14- Marama THOMPSON
18- Darren CHERITON
15- Fergus NEIL
19- George BARBAROUSES
17- David GEAREY
22- Justin GULLEY
18- Jonathan TAYLOR (c)
23- Ryan CAIN
19- Tom BISS
24- Jessie SMITH
20- Chris McIVOR
25- Lance RAMAEKERS (GK)
25- Shaun PETA (GK)
26- Peter HALSTEAD
- two to be omitted
- two to be omitted