By Cameron Russell / asbpremiership.co.nz
WELLINGTON - With a trophy already in the cabinet following a 6-1 win over Waikato FC in the White Ribbon Cup final last Sunday, Team Wellington welcome Hawke's Bay in high spirits.
With a playoff berth secured, Matt Calcott’s side will aim to win the final regular season game and hit the playoffs with heads held high.
“Momentum is key going into the playoffs and winning football gives you that” says Calcott.
“We’re going to keep working hard, keep our heads down and not take our foot of the pedal at the moment.”
Wellington is likely to meet 1st place Auckland in the playoff semi-final.
Currently sitting 4th in the table, Wellington could take 3rd with some help from former Wellington coach Stu Jacobs.
If Wellington win and Waitakere United lose at home to bottom of the table Manawatu, then a match up with Canterbury would await.
Even with the small chance of that happening, Matt Calcott has said he still won’t rest regular starting players barring the odd one.
“I think its key that a week out were as strong as possible and combinations have developed.
“I don’t want to be mucking around with players before an important fixture and we have some guys in this group who are keen to finish the round robin on a high” says Calcott.
With Wellington looking forward, their opposition however are looking at finishing the season on a good note.
Hawkes Bay United has had an up and down season, which will ultimately end in them finishing 5th and just short of a playoff position.
With three rounds remaining Hawkes Bay had the chance of making this fixture a nail bitter with the winner moving onto the playoffs, but a loss to Auckland in round 12 meant they find themselves four points behind Wellington.
Their coach Chris Greatholder is pleased overall with his side’s turnaround and looks forward to next season.
“Four or five games in, I wouldn’t say we were in turmoil but we had a lot of work to do” says Greatholder.
“I think we’ve come good in the last nine games and were on 19 points which I think were satisfied with. There are a few ‘what ifs’ as their usually are with any season when you look back at the games.”
The season might be ending at the right time for Hawkes Bay as they’re currently looking at a long list of players out with injury and Greatholder is concerned about the amount of players on the treatment table.
“Not only are we scratching around for an eleven, were looking round for a bench as well, so we don’t have too many options this weekend.
“I’m frustrated because we wanted to finish the season with a hiss and a roar but we’ll just see if we can roster a side together that can come down and give Matt and the boys a good game.”
Hawkes Bay will have the history on their side in a fixture that has been favourable to them in the past. They have won their last three visits to the capital.
Action gets underway on Sunday at 1pm from Newtown Park.
Hawke's Bay United
Adam COWAN returns from suspension. Rude BAUERFIEND makes a late season comeback from a long term injury.
Matt HASTINGS and Sam MARGETTS are both injured whilewhile Matt GOULD and Josh MARGETTS have long term injuries.
Darren CHERITON is named skipper.
Influential forward Conor TINNION is named in the squad despite carrying a knee injury.
Team Wellington trounced Hawke’s Bay United 6-2 in Napier but may find the going tougher at home where they have now lost three matches on the bounce to the Chris Greatholder-coached outfit.
Hawke’s Bay United have an excellent away record in the capital and have won three of their last three visits in matches with Team Wellington.
ASB Premiership - Round 14
Hawke's Bay United
Sunday 8 April, 2012
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
2- Tim SCHAEFFERS
2- Fergus NEIL
4- Michae EAGAR
4- Stu WILSON
5- Johnny RAJ
5- Bill ROBERTSON (c)
6- Darren CHERITON (c)
6- Stephen HINDMARCH
7- Wiremu PATRICK
8- Adam COWAN
9- Patrick FLEMING
11- Conor TINNION
10- Dakota LUCAS
12- Dale HIGHAM
11- Henry FA'ARODO
13- Luke CHAPMAN
16- Campbell PARKIN
14- Danny WILSON
17- Dominic ROWE
15- Rudi BAUERFIEND
18- Michael FIFII
16- Reilly O'MEAGHER
19- James MUSA
17- Tom BISS
20- Luke ROWE
18- Hamish WATSON
22- Justin GULLEY
20- Leon BIRNIE
25- Scott BASALAJ (GK)
26- Shaun PETA (GK)