» Preview: Loaded WaiBOP United v Southern United

Tickets Adult $10, Student & Pensioners $5, Children free.
Entry Gate 4, FMG Stadium Waikato.

Loaded WaiBOP United is back at FMG Stadium Waikato on Thursday evening hunting our first home win of the 2015/16 ASB Premiership season. Our visitors, last-placed Southern United, might seem like the ideal opponents for us to snap this run, but given the pressure of a must win game a result is anything but a formality.

Head coach, Peter Smith, is naturally wary of the challenge presented by Southern. “They’ll be a handful because they have nothing to lose while for us, potentially, our season is on the line,” said Smith. “We have a talented, motived, tight-knit group of players this season so we’ll be backing ourselves for sure. The players deserve to be in the play-off mix because of the work they’ve put in and the attitude they’ve shown. Now we just need to collect some results…and that continues on Thursday.

“I watched Southern on Sunday and was impressed with some of the young players Fridgy’s brought in. It’s a long way for them to come on a Thursday evening, as we know from heading to the South Island on a Thursday earlier in the season, but I know they’ll be up for the challenge.

“We can expect a good game for local fans and the audience on Sky.”

Smith is comfortable with how his team is travelling at the midpoint of the season, which came after Saturday’s last gasp win over the Phoenix. “Yeah, we’re in an okay position. I guess you could say we’re where we deserve to be after beating all the teams below us while losing to all those above us,” he explained. “Obviously, I’d hoped for a bit better, but our fate is in our hands. History shows we’re a bit of a post-Christmas team so if we can replicate that this season we should get to where we need to be.”

There have been several ins and outs on the player front during the mid-season transfer window. “Both Adam Luque and Thomas Probert have been released from the squad due to injury. It’s unfortunate for them, but with such a short season and limited squad spaces, we have to make space for some new recruits,” explained Smith.

Defenders Tyler Lissette, who played twelve games for us during the 2013/14 season, and Sam Redwood have been added to the squad. Lissette, who was pressed into immediate action against the Phoenix, was with Team Wellington last summer while Redwood, who played for Hamilton Wanderers during the 2015 winter season, joins from Southern United.

Smith is also pleased to announce that striker, Sanni Issa, has been added to the squad for the remainder of the season after signing from Vanuatu club Amicale FC. “A coach can never have too many goal scorers and in Sanni we’ve definitely signed one,” said Smith. “People will remember we signed Sanni ahead of last season, but it didn’t work out and he went to Auckland City. Him and I have stayed in touch and the opportunity’s arisen for him to return to New Zealand and help in our promotion push.”

We plan to announce one further signing in the coming days.

We have also released Marc Evans, who has returned to the UK and signed for a club in Wales, Brendan Lesch and Diego Viera.

Our record v Southern United: P: 5, W: 5, D: 0, L: 0, GF: 15, GA: 5.

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