It’s a quick turnaround for both sides this week after games on Sunday preceded this, our third Thursday evening match of the season. To add to the challenge, it’s a second trip to the South Island in a matter of days.
Loaded WaiBOP United head coach, Peter Smith, shrugged off the travel and instead has chosen to focus on the positives. “Look, when you’re performing well and winning games you just want to keep playing,” said Smith. “The travel is always a hassle, but we went to Dunedin on Sunday and got a result, so it’s no big drama. As long as you manage the travel well, look after the players and keep everyone’s minds on the job then it’s all good. Preparation is key.”
Smith is looking forward to taking on the well performed Canterbury side. “Aye, they started the season well and Willy’s got them playing some good football,” said Smith. “You could say they’ve had a bit of a hiccup of late, with a couple of losses to the top two, but anyone who saw them play Auckland City will know just how threatening they are going forward. That was definitely a game where the score wasn’t an accurate reflection of the performances of the two sides.
“It’ll be tough down there, but that’s what being in this league is all about. I haven’t won at ASB Football Park so on a personal level that’s one I’d like to tick off the list. But far more importantly than that, a result against a play-off rival, who currently sit on the same amount of points, would be huge. I know they’ll be thinking the same. So hopefully we can go down there and squeeze something out of the game.”
The record between the two sides point to this game being a home banker. We’ve lost 1-0 and 2-0 at ASB Football Park during the last two seasons, but have won our two home games against Canterbury United. In case you need reminding, they were a 2-1 victory in our first ever ASB Premiership match and the 4-3 thriller in Cambridge last season. Balancing our record in Christchurch is this season’s form, that has seen us win both our away games, while being defeated twice at home.
This is our fifth consecutive match to be played in front of the Sky Sport cameras this season, so if you can’t make it to ASB Football Park then you can tune in at 7pm on Thursday evening to watch the game on TV.