By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx has no qualms about his team playing their toughest rivals, Waitakere United, on the eve of departure for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The ASB Premiership clash is at Fred Taylor Park on Sunday.
Auckland players head for Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare for their game against the J League champions at Nissan Stadium, Yokohama, on December 6.
“I think having the game against Waitakere at this time is good,” said Tribulietx.
“It’s good for team spirit and helps us to tune up. It forces us to get the best out of ourselves.
“The players aren’t really playing for their places. We have a squad of 22 players and they’re all good and deserve to be on the field. We must ensure that they all feel part of it.”
In the long-running rivalry between the two clubs Waitakere, the defending ASB champions, have the edge this season over last season’s minor premiers thanks to victory in the pre-season Charity Cup.
The West Aucklanders have gone on to win their first three games in the Premiership while Auckland have had two wins and a 1-1 draw against Hawke's Bay United last Sunday.
“They’re very good,” said Tribulietx. “It’s going to be very difficult at the weekend. I think it will be a good game and hopefully an entertaining one.”
Waitakere tuned up for the encounter with a 5-0 victory over YoungHeart Manawatu with Ryan de Vries, David Mulligan, Roy Krishna, Allan Pearce and George Slefendorfas all making the score sheet.
It was a welcome change from the puny return from their dominance of Waikato the previous week.
“It was a good result,” said coach Paul Marshall. “We played well, particularly in the first half. We’re working on our finishing all the time. But it starts a bit deeper with some of the problems coming in the build-up.”
After the Charity Cup win, Marshall said he was pleased but not surprised. He retains the same optimism ahead of the second clash.
“Don’t get me wrong. They’re a very good side. They’re also beatable but we’ll have to play very well to beat them.”
Auckland have no serious fitness problems though Angel Berlanga, who missed the last game, is still nursing a groin strain.
But it is only natural that, with Japan on their minds, they will be carrying a psychological question mark into what is sure to be a hard-fought encounter.
Waitakere’s injury concerns are over Sam Mathews, Luis Del Monte and Matt Cunneen.
Unfortunately a greater concern at the Fred is the condition of the playing surface.
Irrigation problems meant the field was bumpy for the Waikato game and there hasn’t been a lot of improvement.
Statistics seem to head the coaching mantra these days with pass counts, tackle counts and goal chances all being tallied.
But while both teams can point to the number of chances they have created, it’s goals that matter and on that score Waitakere have their noses in front with nine so far and none against.
Dylan STANSFIELD is drafted into the squad.
Matt CUNNEEN and Sam MATHEWS miss out due to injury while
Danny ROBINSON will make his 95th ASB Premiership career appearance, if selected.
Angel BERLANGA and James PRITCHETT are bracketed for this match as Auckland City weigh up their selections ahead of Sunday and beyond to the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012. Andrew MILNE and Jacob SPOONLEY are left out of the squad but with coach Ramon TRIBULIETX mindful of his players fitness, there may yet be a recall for the former.
Waitakere United has won three of the previous nine Super City derby matches – the 2-1 success in the ASB Charity Cup last month, the 3-2 win in the 2010-11 ASB Premiership Grand Final and a 3-1 regular season win in Round 3 of 2010-11.
Auckland City are unbeaten in their last five visits to Fred Taylor Park on ASB Premiership regular season duty, their last defeat a 4-2 loss in 2008/09.
ASB Premiership - Round 4
Sunday 25 November, 2012
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
12- Tamati WILLIAMS (GK)
2- Aaron SCOTT
2- Simon ARMS
3- Jack BEGUELY
3- Takuya IWATA
4- Tim MYERS
5- Angel BERLANGA
5- Brian SHELLEY
6- Jason HICKS
7- David MULLIGAN
7- James PRITCHETT
8- Chad COOMBES
8- Chris BALE
9- George SLEFENDORFAS
9- Manel EXPOSITO
10- Allan PEARCE
10- Luis CORRALES
12- Roy KRISHNA
11- Daniel KOPRIVCIC
16- Maksim MANKO
13- Alex FENERIDIS
17- Jake BUTLER (c)
14- Adam DICKINSON
19- Dan MORGAN
15- Ivan VICELICH (c)
20- Ryan de VRIES
16- Albert RIERA
21- Dylan STANSFIELD
17- Pedro Santa Cecilia GARCIA
22- Louie CAUNTER (GK)
18- Liam ANDERSON (GK)
19- Dan SARIC
20- Emiliano TADE