By Rab Smith / asbpremiership.co.nz
DUNEDIN - Otago must wait before naming Canterbury-quartet Adam Highfield, Chris Anderson, Tom Sadd and James Riechwien in their squad for Sunday’s match with Waitakere United.
The Cantab-contingent are said to be determined to front for their adopted team's final match of the season despite the recent earthquake tragedy in Christchurch.
Otago coach Malcolm Fleming paid tribute to the performances of goalkeeper Highfield, Sadd, Anderson and Reichwien.
"Those Christchurch players have been an important element in our season. Adam Highfield has been exceptional and was named in the January ASB Premiership Team of the Month. Tom Sadd is a rock in central defence, Jimmy Reichwien has given his all, and recently Chris Anderson has bolstered our attack," Fleming said.
"If Nathan Knox – now in Australia – had been allowed to play with Chris (Anderson) they could have been a dynamic pairing. I'm sure we would have collected many more points," said Fleming of his Christchurch imports.
Fleming acknowledged their contribution in setting standards for young local players, such as striker Ant Hancock, Harley Rodeka and Tom Connor.
Of course Otago’s own key players Andy Coburn, Tim Horner, Aaron Burgess, and Tristan Prattley also helped drive the swag of local youngsters onwards at training and matches.
Otago United's task is already daunting enough. The Southerners have only beaten Waitakere United once once in seventeen attempts since the ASB Premiership launched in 2004. That was a 1-0 win in 2005. Since then they have drawn two and lost five in seven matches against the minor premiers-elect in Dunedin.
The home side welcome back veteran midfielder, Paul Seaman, who is in line for his 91st ASB Premiership appearance and against one of the clubs where he excelled.
Seaman was on target for Waitakere United in their FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008 match with Adelaide United and will be hoping he can add to his twelve goal tally for the blue and golds.
Waitakere need a draw to clinch the minor premiership but will be looking for maximum points after their OFC Champions League campaign shuddered to a halt at Kiwitea Street last Sunday.
One glimmer of hope for the home side is Waitakere United's struggle for form away from home.
In the OFC Champions League they have secured only one point from nine in matches with Auckland City (0-1), AS Tefana (1-3) and AS Magenta (1-1).
On the domestic front, they've lost at home to Hawke's Bay United (1-2) and Auckland City (0-1) in recent weeks.
The West Aucklanders have been affected by the injury to Fiji international striker, Roy Krishna, who dislocated his wrist against AS Tefana in Tahiti. They're also without Sean Lovemore who is still on standby after his brief stint with the Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League last month.
Always dangerous when they are struggling, Waitakere United will want a fast return to form with the ASB Premiership their last shot at silverware this season and the semi-finals only two weeks away.
To harness local support, Otago chairman Dave Lamont has granted free admission at Tahuna Park with the first 100 vehicles will be given a free match ball as a momento of the 2011 season.
ASB Dunedin Manager Jon-Paul Jordan delivered the balls to Otago United CEO Barry Van Gorp. The ASB also paid to promote the match through local media advertising.
Otago United and Football South conveyed their sadness and sympathy to Mainland Football with regard to the tragic loss of life in Christchurch.
During the match a collection will be given to the Red Cross for use in earthquake ravaged Christchurch.
The match kicks off at 2pm on Sunday.
Sean LOVEMORE is unavailable because of the 30-day stand down period following his stint with the Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League. Fiji international striker, Roy KRISHNA, remains on the injured list after dislocating his wrist on OFC Champions League duty in Tahiti.
Paul SEAMAN will make his 91st ASB Premiership appearance, if selected. SEAMAN has scored a total of 12 goals for three clubs – Auckland City, Otago United and Waitakere United - since the competition began in 2004.
Otago United has beaten Waitakere United just once since the ASB Premiership began in 2004. That was a 1-0 home success in 2005. Since then they have drawn two and lost five at home to the West Aucklanders.
Waitakere United start this match as overwhelming favourites. In seventeen previous encounters they have lost just once and although that defeat came on a visit to Dunedin, it happened nearly six years ago. Victory for Waitakere United will seal their minor premiership.
ASB Premiership - Week 16
Sunday 6 March, 2011
1- Adam HIGHFIELD (GK)
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
6- Tom SADD
2- Jason ROWLEY
8- Paul SEAMAN
3- Aaron SCOTT
9- Aaron BURGESS
4- Tim MYERS
11- Andy COBURN
6- Jack PELTER
12- James RIECHWIEN
7- Martin BULLOCK
13- Callum FLAWS (GK)
8- Chris BALE
16- James GOVAN
10- Allan PEARCE
18- Harley RODEKA
13- Mike GWYTHER
19- Chris ANDERSON
14- Tim PAYNE
20- Matt BROOK
16- Neil EMBLEN
21- Liam LOCKHART
17- Jake BUTLER (c)
23- Ant HANCOCK
18- Zane SOLE
24- Curtis DAY
19- Dakota LUCAS
26- Tristan PRATTLEY
20- Ryan de VRIES
27- Morgan DAY
24- Luke ADAMS
28- Sam MEPHAN
28- Andy RALPH (GK)
- one to be omitted.