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Wai United bracing for uncompromising clash

Scott Adams [centre] is likely to start on the bench after recovering from injury. PHOTOS/FILE

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Trust House Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley is confident a growing self-belief in the squad will translate into a win over Central League leaders Napier City Rovers.

The visitors come into today’s game, which kicks off at 3.30pm at Trust House Memorial Park, in impressive form with two wins, having scored five goals in each of those victories.

United are fifth in the league, having beaten Petone 4-2 and lost 0-1 away to Wellington Olympic on Good Friday.

A loss would not normally be grounds for confidence, but the defeat to Olympic had plenty of merit after United were reduced to 10 men for more than 60 minutes after experienced midfielder Cory Chettleburgh was sent off for collecting two yellow cards.

“We showed a lot of heart, but we can talk all we like, but it’s on the field that matters, and this weekend’s game is quite critical for the ongoing progress of the team,” Keinzley said.

“We need to back up our last two performances and show consistency and put in a good performance again.”

Keinzley will have close to a full-strength squad to choose from, with Chettleburgh, who is suspended for one game, the only likely absentee.

Riley Grover [left] has impressed in United’s first two games.
American fullback Scott Adams has recovered from a leg injury that had him miss the opening two rounds. He will probably start on the bench with Riley Grover, Stephen Sprowson, and Mark Hemi all playing well in the defensive line.

There is plenty of rivalry between the two clubs. The two met in the 2011 Chatham Cup final, won 2-1 by United, and have featured in several controversial games, including their 2013 third round Chatham Cup match, won by United but later overturned on protest by Napier because United fielded an ineligible player.

Last year, nine-man United fought out a 1-1 draw in Napier, and their other clash ended in a 2-2 draw.

Keinzley is bracing for another uncompromising encounter between the only two clubs in the Central League based out of the Wellington region.

“Going by the number of yellow cards, they must already have the most yellow cards of any team,” he said.

“The way Napier have played in the past, there’s no quarter given. You tend to find there’s a bit of stuff off the ball, and you hope that the officials keep a watch out for it.”

Keinzley said that keeping discipline and composure, and allowing the ball to do the work, and plenty of vocal home support would be the keys to success for United.

“It will be a good game for supporters to come along and watch given that we have a near full-strength squad, and both teams like to play free-flowing football.”

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