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ISPS Handa Premiership preview

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Find out what’s in store in the ISPS Handa Premiership this weekend with the official preview of both games.

Hamilton Wanderers vs Wellington Phoenix Reserves

Links Avenue, Tauranga

Saturday 24 February, 2pm

#ISPSHandaPrem #HWvWP

Referee: AM Keighley

Assistant Referees: H Tutbury, A Lamberth

Fourth Official: CK Waugh

Squads

Hamilton Wanderers: 1. Matt Oliver (GK), 3. Joe Nottage, 5. Sam O’Regan, 7. Patrick Aisa, 8. Steffano Riley, 10. Armin Pasagic, 11. Jordan Shaw, 12. Raheem Hunter, 13. Tommy Semmy, 15. Alex Frank, 16. Hamish Smylie, 17. Xavier Pratt, 18. Alexis Varela, 21. Liam Hayes, 23. David Masters (GK)

Coach: Ricki Herbert

Wellington Phoenix Reserves: 1. Zac Jones, 3. Jacob Williams, 4.Liam Moore, 6. Liberto Cacace, 8. Ollie Whyte, 10. Willem Ebbinge, 11. Sam Sutton, 14. Alex Rufer, 15. James McGarry, 19. Sam Philip, 23. Ben Waine, 40. Oliver Sail (GK), 45. Adam Parkhouse, 46. Logan Rogerson, 77. Oscar Spragg, 78. Oscar Browne

Coach: Chris Greenacre

Lowdown

Both these sides dropped out of the play-off running a long time ago but still have everything to play for in this one as they will be desperate to avoid the wooden spoon. The Phoenix are very much favourites to succeed in that task as they are six points ahead of Hamilton Wanderers, who must win here to have any hope of climbing off bottom spot. Even then, they would need to earn at least one more win from their two remaining matches and hope the ‘Wee Nix’ slip up but their recent improved form suggests they have a chance of doing so. Wanderers still have only one win to their name - two less than the Phoenix - but have proved a far tougher nut to crack since the turn of the year, posting two draws and a win from their six matches. Two of their losses in those games were by a margin of just 1-0 and they have also improved offensively, scoring two or more goals in all four other recent games. The youthful Phoenix have earned plenty of praise for their style of play and performances but have struggled to translate that into results and will be keen to show they have improved their game management skills in the closing weeks of their campaign. This match is a chance for the Mount Maunganui locals to witness national league football for the first time this season with Links Avenue set to play host.

Quotes

Chris Greenacre (Wellington Phoenix coach): "We’ve struggled with conceding a lot of goals and it’s really important that we work on trying to stop the rot. That’s going to be a real focus going into the tail end of the season. Hamilton do possess a real threat at the top, Tommy Semmy is a very powerful striker and has caused problems for all the teams in the league. We need to make sure we’re on our guard and I fully expect an end-to-end game."

Hawke’s Bay United vs Canterbury United Dragons

Bluewater Stadium, Napier

Sunday 25 February, 4.35pm

#ISPSHandaPrem #HBvCU

Live on SKY Sport

Referee: A Riley

Assistant Referees: M Rule, T Pedley

Fourth Official: G Sheehan

Squads

Hawkes Bay United: 26. Mackenzie Waite (GK), 5. Bill Robertson, 6. Alex Palezevic, 7. Wesley Cain, 8. Sam St De Croix, 9. Samuel Adjei, 11. Hayato Wakino, 12. Ben Lack, 13. Jordan Lamb, 15. Jim Hoyle, 16. Tinashe Marowa, 18. Josh Murphy, 19. Birhanu Taye, 22. Jorge Akers, 24. Karanjit Mandair, 33. Wilson McCullough (GK)

Canterbury United Dragons: 1. Coey Turipa (GK), 2. Dan Terris, 3. Aaron Spain, 5. Tom Schwarz, 6. Gary Ogilvie, 7. Travis Nicklaw, 8. Luke Tongue, 10. Futa Nakamura, 12. George King, 15. Andreas Wilson, 16. Cory Mitchell, 17. Stephen Hoyle, 19. Francis De Vries, 21. Tom Batty (GK), 30. Seth Clark

Lowdown

At first glance, it may seem there is not much riding on this as Canterbury United’s play-off spot is secure while Hawke’s Bay United had to give up that dream several weeks ago. But every point is still vital for Canterbury as they are capable of breaking into the top two and finishing in one of those spots brings plenty of reward. Ending up on the summit provides automatic qualification for the OFC Champions League while the side that finishes second will also earn a berth in the Pacific’s premier club competition if the minor premiers go on to lift the ISPS Handa Premiership trophy. Finishing in the top two also earns a home semi-final and Canterbury will be keen to avoid fourth place as they would then meet the minor premiers. Hawke’s Bay have less to play for and their main motivation will be to prove they are the best side in the country outside of the play-offs. Coach Brett Angell will not view their return of just four wins from 15 games as acceptable and will be targeting nothing less than nine points in the remaining three matches. The Bay will be looking to exact some revenge on the Cantabrians after being outclassed 3-0 in mid-December.

Quotes

Brett Angell (Hawke’s Bay United coach): "We need to finish the season as strong as we possibly can and we haven’t won at home all season so it would be nice to break that hoodoo and pick up three points. Canterbury have a very experienced group of players, most of the player base is late 20s and older. They compete and you have to match that aggression. They’ll pressure the ball and try to put themselves in your face. And from set pieces we have to switch on because they have personnel who are dangerous in those environments."

Tom Schwarz (Canterbury United defender): "It wasn’t the prettiest of performances last week against Hamilton Wanderers but we got the three points and that was the important thing. Hawke’s Bay are always a tricky opponent and are quite a difficult team to prepare for. With the pressure off them, they might express themselves a bit more and they’ll be looking to cause a bit of an upset but we’ll be ready for that. We’re going there for three points and want to finish us high up the league as we can."

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