Waitakere United have hardly touched down following their sojourn to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan but know they must quickly get up to speed when they return to NZFC action against Manawatu on Sunday at Douglas Field.
Coach Chris Milicich is missing a number of key players with Allan Pearce, Jonathan Perry and Danny Hay all injured, while Tim Myers, Ian Hogg, Ash Solly and Jacob Mathews are all with the NZ U20 side in Tahiti as they try to qualify for the 2009 U20 World Cup.
Pearce is the biggest blow; the foot injury suffered in Japan that forced him from the field is likely to keep the All White out of football for 8 weeks.
But Milicich won’t accept any excuses for a below par performance on Sunday.
“After Japan there is the danger of a let down on Sunday but many of the players have experienced this before and know the importance of maintaining standards. We have spoken about this during the week, the fact that we performed with such merit in Japan and must now look to that standard as a benchmark week in week out in the NZFC and O-League.”
Milicich says returning from Japan and any hangover from the trip must quickly be put aside in such a shortened NZFC campaign.
“This is the life of a team at or near the top of the pile and we must cope and get on with it. No excuses, we have the squad, the depth and the talent, now we must show we have the heart and the desire against a quality Manawatu side.
”The season is short; we cannot afford any more slips such as the draw with Canterbury before we went away.”
The match will observe the sad passing this morning of Wellington football personality and Coach Dave Farrington with a minutes silence pre match and black armbands.
Squad (from) (list in numerical order):
1 Richard Gillespie (GK), 3 Aaron Scott, 6 Hone Fowler, 7 Daniel Ellensohn, 8 Paul Seaman, 9 Benjamin Totori, 11 Neil Sykes, 13 Daniel Koprivcic, 14 Jeff Campbell, 15 Christopher Bale, 16 Neil Emblen, 17 Jake Butler, 20 Jason Rowley, 21 Kayne Vincent, 22 Danny Robinson (GK), 12 Roy Krishna
Waitakere United v YoungHeart Manawatu
Sunday 21st December