Waitakere United will focus for one more time on the NZFC before they depart for the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan on Sunday when they host YoungHeart Manawatu at Fred Taylor Park on Saturday.
Head Coach Chris Milicich has made one change to the bench (Butler in for Pascoe) following the one all draw with Auckland City last week but will otherwise field an unchanged side for the third week running.
Milicich is wary of his players losing focus with their boarding passes all but processed for Sunday morning.
“Saturday is all about focus and a determination to improve again on last week’s performance. There was disappointment at giving away a soft goal and costing ourselves the two points but we must put that behind us against an in form opposition.
“In many ways Saturday is an indication of how we will cope with a congested season. The players must show maturity to deal with the match in hand and not get distracted by the flight to Japan the next day.”
Milicich is warning against any individual players putting one foot on the plane for Japan, suggesting that might cost them in the long run anyway.
“Poor performances from individuals will potentially cost them a spot in Japan so there is everything to play for.”
A return home is a welcome change for the defending Minor Premiers after three road matches with Fred Taylor Park now having a 500 seat grandstand in place for spectators.
“It is nice to return home after a run of away matches too, in particular now the grandstand is in place which should further help the atmosphere.”
Neil Emblen remains on the outer with his ankle injury, albeit he is being assessed every day with an eye towards the Japan trip.
Squad of 16 (list in chronological order): 1 Richard Gillespie, 2 Jonathan Perry, 4 Matt Cuneen, 5 Danny Hay (c), 6 Darren Bazeley, 7 Jason Hayne, 9 Benjamin Totori, 10 Allan Pearce, 13 Daniel Koprivcic, 14 Hoani Edwards, 15 Chris Bale, 17 Jake Butler, 22 Simon Eaddy, 11 Neil Sykes, 33 Paul Seaman, 8 Commins Menapi
NZFC Round Five
Waitakere United v YoungHeart Manawatu
Fred Taylor Park
Saturday 1st December
Referee: Christopher Kerr (Auckland)
Otago United v Hawke’s Bay United
Saturday 1 December
Referee: Jamie Cross (Wellington)
Waikato FC v Auckland City
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Sunday 2 December
Referee: Kevin Stoltenkamp (North Shore)
Canterbury United v Team Wellington
English Park, Christchurch
Sunday 2 December
Referee: Matthew Conger (Palmerston North)