By Matt Barnes / asbpremiership.co.nz
PALMERSTON NORTH - New Waikato FC coach Mark Cossey will have his first game in charge away to Youngheart Manawatu this weekend, live on national television.
Cossey inherits a team that has struggled in the first part of the ASB Premiership season. After four games, Waikato has yet to register a point with their last outing being a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Canterbury United.
That result saw the end of the second tenure of Declan Edge as Waikato coach.
The club elected to terminate his contract and promote Cossey from his role as youth team coach.
The ASB Premiership transfer window is not until mid-January, so Cossey is limited in terms of the personnel changes he can make in the immediate term.
Key players Adam Thomas and Tyler Lisette remain on the injury list for Waikato.
Although the match is technically a home game for Youngheart Manawatu, it is being played in Wellington’s International Stadium as the televised curtain raiser for the Hyundai A-League clash between Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers.
It is Manawatu’s fourth game from five being played away from Palmerston North, but coach Stu Jacobs does not feel that has affected his side.
“To be brutally honest, we probably play better away than we do at home at the moment,” said Jacobs. “From our point of view, it’s fantastic we get to play at the Stadium. It’s a great initiative and we want to make sure that we put a product on the park that is good for the spectators and good for the viewers.”
After a torrid last season, Manawatu have been a much-improved side this year. Even though they have lost their last three games, the team has been far more competitive.
Last weekend, the young side led 1-0 over Team Wellington before eventually succumbing 3-1.
“We’ve got to make sure that when we do get ascendancy in a game that we maintain it for longer periods.” Said Jacobs. “It’s just time, really, and getting in those situations more often.”
The Waikato tie represents the rare circumstance where Manawatu enter a match as favourites, but Jacobs remains philosophical.
“It’s a match we’ll have to target for three points.” Said Jacobs. “They’re in a similar position to ourselves at the foot of the table, so they’ll be going for a similar result.”
For Manawatu, it is a chance to get into the dogfight for play-off spots. But for Cossey’s young Waikato side, a good performance is critical to inject some confidence back into the club.
The match kicks off at 1:45pm on Sunday with live coverage on Sky Sport.
Soulymane CISSOKO gets his first call up
Raymond HOW returns to the squad
Suele SOROMON, Khair JONES and Dale HIGHAM are all unlisted.
with Adam THOMAS and Tyler LISSETTE on the treatment table due to injury.
Tom MOSQUERA and Matt BORREN were both selected in the ASB Premiership Team of the Month for November, the first time a Manawatu player has been selected for the distinction in over a year.
Neil MOUNCHER is reserve goalkeeper with Matt OLIVER unlisted.
YoungHeart Manawatu enjoyed a 5-2 win over Waikato FC courtesy of a Michael WHITE hat-trick back in 2010/11 season. However, the Palmerstonians only have 1 win in their previous five encounters with Waikato FC in total.
Former coach Declan EDGE had his second tenure as coach of Waikato FC ended this week. EDGE accumulated just two wins in 18 matches, but can boast an overall record of 17 wins in 61 matches over his two stints as coach. Waikato FC has appointed Mark COSSEY as the new coach for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.
ASB Premiership - Round 5
1- Matt BORREN (GK)
1- Matt UPTON (GK)
2- Liam HIGGINS
4- Josh GREENE
4- Kade SCHRIJVERS
5- Eder FRANCHINI
6- Matt KENNEDY
6- Sam JASPER (c)
7- Josh CHELLTEBURGH
7- Ryan THOMAS
8- Nathan COOKSLEY
8- Baily WEBSTER
10- Adam COWAN (c)
9- Rory TURNER
11- Tom MOSQUERA
11- Jack HOBSON-McVEIGH
14- Tyson BRANDT
12- Neil MOUNCHER (GK)
15- Billy SCOTT
14- Sam MARGETTS
17- Jordan MARTENS
16- Jesse EDGE
19- Ben WILKES (GK)
17- Mohamad AWAD
20- Sam REDWOOD
18- Alexi VARELA
21- Soulymane CISSOKO
21- Raymond HOW
22- Grant ROBSON
23- Hone FOWLER
23- Lewis CUMBER
24- Adam WALLIS