By Niall Anderson / asbpremiership.co.nz
HAMILTON - Finishing is the key word for Waikato FC this week, as they look to snare a rare home victory when they take on a struggling Youngheart Manawatu outfit.
Guilty of not finishing off their numerous chances in recent weeks, Waikato are also aiming to finish the season on a high by picking up points in their last three games, two of which come against sides who share the bottom three with the Hamilton-based team.
With Waikato FC not having won a home game since February 2011, Cossey knows that this game is an important one for both the team and the fans who turn up to Porritt Stadium every week.
“It’s something we’ve got to change around, because realistically it should be the opposite, your home ground should be your fortress, that’s definitely a focus for us this week," h said.
“The way we’ve been playing is really good in the first half, we should have been finishing them off and we haven’t, so I think our fitness is telling”.
Waikato have fought spiritedly against good opposition in the past two games, creating several clear-cut opportunities, but they have failed to find the back of the net, and have not managed a point since Christmas.
Manawatu, however, have only gained three points so far this season, continuing their poor results from previous seasons.
Despite Manawatu’s struggles, Cossey is wary that they have similar motivations to his side.
“They’ll be saying the same thing as us, they’ll be wanting to finish their season on a high, it’ll be tough. We’ve just got to take our chances early, and if we can do that it’ll give us confidence to go on and win the game.”
YoungHeart Manawatu could find further motivation - avoiding a hat-trick of wooden spoons.
The Palmerston North outfit has endured a miserable run of form for the past three seasons and defeat to Waikato could consign Stu Jacobs side to yet another bottom placed finish.
Two wins, four draws and 35 losses is the worst record in the ASB Premiership by some distance, yet Manawatu can draw some cheer - their biggest win during this awful run came in a 5-2 thrashing of Waikato two seasons ago.
Former Manawatu forward Michael White grabbed a hat-trick that day as YoungHeart basked in the fleeting glory of a big win.
Tom Mosquera - YoungHeart's resident goal-getter in chief - has not hit the target since the halfway point in the season and if they are to turn over fellow strugglers Waikato FC, he'll have to rediscover his scoring touch.
Defensively, Manawatu experimented on a line up without top appearance holder Adam Cowan, a brave move considering the pourous nature of the YoungHeart defence.
Cossey has the rare luxury of having a full squad to choose from, with goalkeeper Jason Mann and striker Sam Margetts coming back into the side, and he hints at some personnel changes for the clash which kicks off on Sunday at 2.30 pm.
Rory TURNER was named in the ASB Premiership Team of the Month for January and is Waikato FC’s top scorer this season.
Dale HIGHAM and Liam HIGGINS are both one caution away from suspension.
Defeat for Waikato FC would equal their worst ever losing streak of six matches in a row.
Only three players have scored goals for YoungHeart Manawatu this season – Seule SOROMON, Lewis CUMBER and Tom MOSQUERA. YoungHeart’s last win over Waikato FC was a 5-2 thumping in Hamilton in the 2010/11 season.
ASB Premiership - Round 12
Sunday 10 February, 2013
12- Jason MANN (GK)
1- Ben WILKES (GK)
3- Jordan SHAW
2- Liam HIGGINS
5- Eder FRANCHINI
3- Alex RUFER
6- Sam JASPER
4- Kade SCHRIJVERS
7- Gurjeep SINGH
8- Nathan COOKSLEY
9- Rory TURNER
9- Seule SOROMON
10- Mark JONES
10- Adam COWAN (c)
11- Jack HOBSON-McVEIGH
11- Tom MOSQUERA
14- Sam MARGETTS
12- Khair JONES
16- Byron PAULUS
14- Tyson BRANDT
18- Alexi CAROAMA-VARELA
15- Billy SCOTT
17- Jordan MARTENS
21- Ray HOW
18- Dale HIGHAM
23- Hone FOWLER
20- Sam REDWOOD
25- Neil MOUNCHER (GK)
22- Grant ROBSON