Cory Chettleburgh, left, is likely to make his first appearance of the season for Wairarapa United against North Wellington. PHOTO/FILE

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Two of Wairarapa United’s most experienced campaigners will be back to boost the side for tomorrow’s must-win game with North Wellington at Trust House Memorial Park [kick-off 2pm].

Former player-coach Cory Chettleburgh will play his first game since undergoing a knee reconstruction late last season, and Cameron Lindsay returns after serving a four-match suspension.

Chettleburgh will slot into midfield, while Lindsay can fill a midfield or centreback role, depending on coach Davor Tavich’s plans.

“When you have the quality you never lose that, and they have so much experience and are very good footballers,” Tavich said.

“They’ve been around a while and we can do with a bit more calmness on the pitch.”

Tavich said it was unlikely they would play the full 90 minutes, but that would depend on the situation.

The experienced Seule Soromon will likely be included on the bench, with his pace and aggression to provide impact in the last quarter.

The talented Liam Heard will also return after missing last Saturday’s 3-8 loss to Miramar Rangers because of work commitments and will slip into left midfield or wingback.

Promising youngster Josh Rudland could be rested by Tavich to give his quad injury time to heal.

United are seventh in the Central League on four points, with North Wellington ninth on three points.

Tavich said United must win or get something out of the game.

“It’s going to be hard work, but we just have to do it, there’s no way around it.”

Meanwhile, in today’s W-League match, Wairarapa United coach Paul Ifill his team must beat league leaders Palmerston North Marist if they want to stay in the running for the title.

The game will be played at Trust House Memorial Park, kick-off 11am.

Previous leaders Wellington United Diamonds were surprisingly beaten by Waterside-Karori, which had Marist draw level at the top and moved United, [one win and three draws from five matches] to within six points of the leaders.

“Last weekend’s result with Welly losing has given us a bit of lifeline so if we want to win the league, we have to win every game,” Ifill said.

“If we lose, we’re probably definitely out of it. If we win, we could be just three points off the top, so it’s a really big one.”

United beat Marist away and drew at home last season, and Ifill expected to face a strong team again.

“They’re very well organised. They’ve got Charlotte Lancaster, who’s one of the best in the league, and a left-footer.

“She scored a very good goal against us last time, so we have to keep her in check, and they’ve also got Mikaela Boxall who’s always in the top two or three goalscorers every year.”

United will be without the experienced Meisha Boone, who is still battling a knee injury, but Ifill will keep the same formation that impressed in last Saturday’s 4-1 win over Western Suburbs.

That would see Amber Phillips drop back into the crucial centreback role, Dani Turton control the midfield, and Nina Kondo playing just behind the strikers.