ASB Premiership: Waitakere started the season with a hiss and a roar but form has taken a dip in recent weeks – what do you put that down too?
Danny Robinson: I think we have missed some good opportunities in front of goal that would of won us all 3 games we have lost in recent weeks. Earlier in the season we would probably of finished some of those chances. But we are definitely back on track now after the 6-1 win against Waikato FC.
ASB Premiership: How have you responded to the arrival of Andy Ralph?
Danny Robinson: Ralphy came into the squad during pre-season and started the season ahead of me, so I realised very early on that I was going to have to really challenge for the starting spot. Every top club has at least two senior GK's (we had three at the start with Liam Little) who want to start every game, which pushes you along and makes you train even harder to keep or try and regain the starting spot.
ASB Premiership: what sort of working relationship do you have with your glove rivals?
Danny Robinson: Ralphy is a top man and a quality GK. We get on really well as most keepers do. We are both members of the "Goalkeeper's Union" which means we help each other out regardless of whos starting and whos on the 'Dame Judy' ('Dench'/'Bench' - editor).
ASB Premiership: What is the perception of Auckland City's challenge and is it difficult to play them so often?
Danny Robinson: Auckland City are definitely our main rivals. The games between us are like no other ASB Premiership or O-League game. There is never a dull Waitakere v Auckland derby match.
I don't think playing each other so often is a problem for players. I think these challenges test you out as a player. Every game between the two teams has something different, and they are such closely fought matches that they always drum up interest from all over New Zealand.
I remember the 2-2 draw at Auckland in the O-League last season to qualify for the final and the atmosphere and tension that game produced was like no other game I've experienced in a domestic sense. You always get some sharp crowd banter at the Auckland City games too, which I like, as it reminds me of playing back home in England.
ASB Premiership: How do you rate the other playoff contenders – Team Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury?
Danny Robinson: Firstly, my thoughts and prayers are with the Canterbury United team and management and the Christchurch people who have experienced such a horrible disaster this week. It really puts football into perspective when you see and hear what people are going through down there.
Hawke's Bay proved the other week that they are capable of causing an upset and previous seasons games against Canterbury and Wellington have always been tough, so without sitting on the fence too much I think that any team that reaches the playoffs is capable of winning the Grand Final and we treat every team we play with respect.
ASB Premiership: The defeat at Tefana was a blow to Waitakere O-League hopes – what happened?
Danny Robinson: I think we prepared well for the game in Tahiti. Management made sure everything we needed was available and we were there for two days before the game so we have no excuses. I think it comes down to the fact we just didn't perform on the night. We didn't defend well and we didn't take our chances up front. We have learnt from it and we will put it right in our remaining two group games.
ASB Premiership: There are a number of younger players at Waitakere starting to make a name for themselves at the club – how do you rate them?
Danny Robinson: Our squad is pretty young full stop. Apart from Marty Bullock, the next oldest is me, then Chris Bale at 28, which is quite a bit different from the Waitakere United squad I joined in 2008.
There are plenty of players in our squad who I know will go on to big things. Luke Adams has recently come into the squad off the back of a tremendous World Cup campaign with New Zealand U-17's and will be one to watch for the future.
Timmy Myers, although looking like he is in his 30's, is only 20, and has been a regular at centre back and hardly put a foot wrong. Also, young "DK" Lucas has played well upfront and has potential to be a future All White, in my opinion.
ASB Premiership: You must have played alongside a number of wind-up merchants at Waikato FC and Waitakere United – who are some of the main characters you’ve played alongside or against?
Danny Robinson: The one who springs to mind straight away is Jack Pelter. Jack brings some great banter to the dressing room. He loves telling stories about his times at Sunderland as a Premier League player where he was best buddies with Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, which all the lads love listening to.
I also remember players at Waikato FC like Auckland City "fan favourites" Sammy Wilkinson and Ross McKenzie. Their love of winding up opponents would often end up in fisty cuffs and/or a two footed tackle.
ASB Premiership: Allan Pearce and Roy Krishna are important figures at your club – how vital are they to the club’s hopes of a double?
Danny Robinson: Roy should be a professional by now. No one who has played with or against Roy can deny that he is a class act and he gives us something special out wide or upfront. We don't know how long Roy is going to be out injured for, but I think we have a good enough squad to still win the big games without him. Allan has been great for us this season. He deserves the Golden Boot and will be important for us in the finals.
ASB Premiership: Who were your biggest influences as a goalkeeper? Which goalkeepers did you model yourself on?
Danny Robinson: My biggest influence as a goalkeeper would have to be my dad, Phil Robinson. He was a goalie and gave me the initial coaching I needed when I was 10 or 11. Dad now works for Sport Gisborne coaching sports in schools on the East Coast. He played locally in Derby to an average standard, however, he was a linesman in the English Premier League in the early 1990's ,when the competition first started, so football has always been a massive part of my life.
My biggest influence as far as top goalkeepers go is definitely Peter Schmeichel. He was someone I watched growing up that played his own way and was probably the best keeper the world has seen. Nowadays, I am a big fan of Iker Casillas at Real Madrid, he is currently the best in the world.
ASB Premiership: What do you rate as your best performance in an ASB Premiership for Waitakere? For Waikato?
Danny Robinson: Tough question! I've enjoyed some games where we have all performed well, but a recent game that I felt I did my job was earlier in the season against Auckland City when we won 3-1 at Kiwitea Street. Ralphy was due to start and badly broke his finger in the warm up, so I had to play and made a couple of saves I was happy with.
From memory I was kept pretty busy during my time at Waikato FC so it is hard to pick a one off game that stands out. Playing for Waitakere is a lot different to those days at Waikato FC. I will normally only have a couple of saves to make in a match for Waitakere as we dominate opponents and the rest of the time you have to stay switched on and focused.
ASB Premiership: Who are the best defenders who have lined up in front of you in your career and why?
Danny Robinson: One of the best defenders I have played behind would have to be former England international Des Walker, when he was at Burton Albion. He played a couple of games for us before making a come back at Nottingham Forest in the early 2000's. He was in his mid to late 30's but was still total class.
In New Zealand, Brett Derry at Gisborne City stands out. Brett was a striker/centre back and was nearly unbeatable during my first season playing in New Zealand in the Central Premier League. I have Brett to thank for helping me keep nine cleansheets in an 18 game season. That was a key reason I was picked up by Waikato FC.
And finally, Neil Emblen in the 2008 season. That may sound like I'm sucking up to the gaffer, but he was outstanding that season and deservedly won our Player of the Year Award.
ASB Premiership: What is the best moment of your career to date? Worst moment?
Danny Robinson: The past three seasons at Waitakere United have been special. The FIFA Club World Cup in 2008 was a highlight, something that drives us all - we just want to get back there again. And of course winning the ASB Premiership Grand Final over Canterbury United last season was a great achievement for us as a young team and definitely another personal highlight.
The Adelaide United game in Japan was quite a surreal experience - it was a massive stadium with 30,000 fans there. The kind of experience we all play the game for. I was number two to big Richard Gillespie, who is now with Hawke's Bay United, and I remember he played a superb game.
One of my best and worst moments of my career happened on the same day in 2003. I made my Nationwide Conference debut for Burton Albion against Scarborough. I was 20 years old and unfortunately it didn't end well as I was sent off after 65mins for a dangerous challenge on their striker. I learnt a lot from that game!
ASB Premiership: Finally, what advice would you give to young goalkeepers aspiring to play at the top level?
Danny Robinson: Don't be afraid to make mistakes, be confident. Always remember your key role - to stop the ball going in the goal. And finally, be crazy! You have got to be mad to be a goalie...!