By Matt Barnes / asbpremiership.co.nz
PALMERSTON NORTH - Bottom team Manawatu host high-flying Hawke’s Bay in a provincial derby that looks a tough one for the embattled home side.
With the ASB Premiership now into its second half, Hawke’s Bay United stand out as the surprise packages of the season. Currently third on the ladder and with a perfect home record, the Bay team are fresh from a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Waikato FC and look well on track for the play-offs.
Jarrod Smith returned from injury for his first match of the season in the win, celebrating the day with a brace of goals. Coach Chris Greatholder now has an enviable attacking line-up at his fingertips with Smith joining New Zealand Under-23 International Dakota Lucas and Sean Lovemore in the strike force.
The match had loomed as a clash between the two frontrunners in the golden boot race in Lovemore and Tom Mosquera, but Mosquera is one of three Manawatu players sidelined by suspension.
A chaotic closing stanza against Otago United last weekend saw three Manawatu players dismissed, meaning coach Stu Jacobs will not be able to call on the services of Mosquera, Dale Higham or Alex Rufer this Sunday.
“We’re going to have to rely on our depth,” said Jacobs. “It gives the boys 13, 14 and 15 a chance to come into the side and hopefully get us a result against Hawke’s Bay.”
For Rufer, it was particularly disappointing as the match had been an impressive debut until that point.
“Considering his age, I thought he did particularly well,” said Jacobs. “Unfortunately he didn’t last the game, through no fault of his own. From an attacking point of view he’s lively, he’s got good vision and he can finish as well.”
“The Rufer name is synonymous with a superstar and I think he’s going to head that way at some stage. Hopefully we can bring him back into the group the following week for Waitakere.”
Manawatu will be reliant on their more experienced campaigners to smooth over the changes in personnel, particularly Nathan Cooksley and captain Adam Cowan, who have over 230 ASB Premiership appearances between them. Cowan has been in top form of late and was named in the Premiership Team of the Month for December.
Jacobs is fully aware his side are up against it in hosting one of the form teams of the competition.
“If we can go into the game and put in a genuinely good performance - yes, be aware of their front players, because they are dangerous – but I think they’re playing particularly well as a group.” Said Jacobs.
“We need to come to the game on the weekend and just be mindful that if we’re short, we’re in for a toughie. That’s the message we need to embrace.”
Hawke's Bay United
Khair JONES and Grant ROBSON are drafted in for cover
There is a call-up for Josh MARGETTS as Hawke’s Bay look to consolidate their playoff push
There are suspensions galore for Manawatu as Tom MOSQUERA, Dale HIGHAM and Alex RUFER pay the price for red cards in the fiery match with Otago United last Sunday with Josh CHETTLEBURGH also omitted.
Danny WILSON is overseas getting married.
Michael FRASER is set to hit double figures for ASB Premiership career appearances.
There is good news for the long term injured defender Ross HAVILAND who rejoined training this week.
YoungHeart Manawatu has conceded just over three goals per game this season.
Last Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing of Waikato FC equalled Hawke’s bay United’s previous best ever victory – also a 4-0 win against Canterbury United in 2008/09 season.
ASB Premiership - Round 9
Hawke's Bay United
Sunday 20 January, 2013
1- Matt BORREN (GK)
1- Richard GILLESPIE (GK)
2- Liam HIGGINS
2- Aaron JONES
3- Wade RANDLE
3- Josh MARGETTS
4- Kade SCHRIJVERS
5- Bill ROBERTSON (c)
8- Nathan COOKSLEY
6- Stephen HINDMARCH
9- Seule SOROMON
8- Cole PEVERLEY
10- Adam COWAN (c)
9- Jarrod SMITH
13- Michael FRASER
10- Stephen HOYLE
14- Tyson BRANDT
12- Harley RODEKA
15- Billy SCOTT
16- Sean LOVEMORE
17- Jordan MARTENS
17- Fergus NEIL
19- Ben WILKES (GK)
18- Dakota LUCAS
20- Sam REDWOOD
20- Conor TINNION
21- Khair JONES
21- Matt BRUIN
22- Grant ROBSON
22- Angus KILKOLLY
26- Danyon DRAKE (GK)