By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - Roy "the rocket" Krishna will miss Friday’s ASB Premiership game between Waitakere United and YoungHeart Manawatu at Fred Taylor Park on Friday.
The speedy striker strained a hamstring in Waitakere’s 4-0 O-League victory over Mont Dore last weekend and could be out of action for several games.
“This kind of injury can take four to six weeks to come right, which means his season might be over,” said coach Neil Emblen. “But Roy’s usually a quick healer so he may be back sooner.
“He’s a good player but let’s remember he was out injured last season when we won the Grand Final. Someone else has the chance to step up.”
Krishna’s absence is not the only problem Emblen has to confront. Young Sean Lovemore is under an injury cloud while Chris Bale has picked up four yellow cards and is excluded as are Ross McKenzie and Matt Cunneen, who were red-carded in the last Premiership game against Canterbury.
Emblen intends to give some of his younger players a chance to step up to a higher level. He plans starts for Jordan Vale and Rory Turner, who up to now have played bit-part roles during the season. But the coach emphasises that this isn’t a case of fielding a weak side in a game against the bottom team.
“There is still plenty of motivation for us,” he said. “Due respect to Canterbury but if you asked the players they would prefer to play a two-leg semi against Canterbury rather than Auckland City.”
Auckland are assured of finishing first and Canterbury will finish second. But if Team Wellington beat Hawkes Bay United and Waitakere lose to Manawatu, Waitakere would finish fourth and face Auckland in the playoffs.
This has been an unusual season for the West Aucklanders. They have lost five games in the Premiership and they will have to win the Grand Final to secure a place in next season’s O-League. They also face a nervous wait to find out whether they will advance to this year’s O-League finale. That rests on whether Tefana can beat Ba in their postponed final round fixture.
The 4-0 victory over Mont Dore looks fine on paper but Emblen was far from impressed by an awful first-half display and he was disappointed that harsh words had to be said at the break to lift the players out of their lethargy.
Manawatu look an easy target for a timely revival. They are winless and in danger of setting a negative record that no team want to own. The problem all season has been a leaky defence with 55 goals conceded in 13 games, making victories an uphill struggle.
But Emblen is taking nothing for granted.
“Two years ago Stu Jacobs brought a team (Wellington) here who came within an extra time header of putting us out of the O-League. He definitely knows how to win.”
Coach Neil EMBLEN names himself in a 15-man squad that also includes Reece LAMBERT.
Michael FRASER and Matt KENNEDY return to the squad to bolster the ranks.
Injury to Roy KRISHNA and the release of Gagame FENI, Steve HOLLOWAY and Andy BEVIN further reduces Waitakere United’s options
Stu LAWRIE is left out of the squad.
Suspension rules out Ross McKENZIE, Matt CUNNEEN and Chris BALE.
Vanuatu international striker Suele SOROMON is suspended.
Waitakere United has won 11, drawn one and lost one of its last 13 matches with Manawatu. Incredibly, Waitakere has scored 17 goals in their previous three matches with Manawatu and includes victories of 4-0, 6-1 and 7-2.
Defeat for YoungHeart Manawatu would leave the Palmerston North-based club as the first in ASB Premiership history to finish a regular season campaign without a win. A defeat would also see Manawatu finish the season with the lowest ever points tally in the competition’s history.
ASB Premiership - Round 14,
Friday 6 April, 2012
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
1- Ben WILKES (GK)
2- Jason ROWLEY
2- Hamish McKAY
3- Aaron SCOTT
3- Josh CHETTLEBURGH
4- Tim MYERS
4- Jamie O'CONNOR
7- Martin BULLOCK
6- Matt KENNEDY
10- Allan PEARCE
8- Nathan COOKSLEY
16- Neil EMBLEN
12- Michael SHERIDAN
17- Jake BUTLER (c)
14- Pablo MOYA
20- Ryan de VRIES
16- Michael FRASER
22- Matt UPTON (GK)
17- Jordan MARTENS
25- Sean LOVEMORE
18- Barry LEWIS
26- Reece LAMBERT
19- Andrew DRAKE (GK)
27- Ross HAVILAND
21- Tom MOSQUERA
29- Jordan VALE
23- Wade RANDLE
30- Rory TURNER
24- Michael McKNIGHT