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 for our third of four 2015/16 ASB Premiership matches at Hamilton’s premier sports venue. After a comfortable win under the bright lights last week we now look forward to the prospect of the much stiffer test presented by a revived Waitakere United.
Head coach, Peter Smith, is relishing the challenge. “The must win games are coming thick and fast, for sure, but after winning our last two, against the bottom two sides, we now face what I think are genuine rivals for a place in the play-offs,” said Smith. “It’ll be tough but the challenge is no different to what we’ve accepted over the last few weeks. We’ll just treat this as our latest cup final…one of many we’ll have in 2016.
“We still sit ahead of Waitakere but we need a win on Thursday to give ourselves some breathing space below us as well as to keep the pressure on those teams above us.”
Smith has been pleased with his side’s post-Christmas form. “We’ve started off the New Year well, as we have during the last two seasons, but it’s important for us as a group to kick on this time,” he explained. “It’s our last chance at the play-offs and there are at least a few people in our organisation who deserve a taste of the post-season. This includes, of course, the playing squad who have been top class for me this summer.”
As well as taking on a talented side, Smith will also be matching his wits against one of the country’s leading coaches. “Chris [Milicich – Waitakere’s United’s coach] has them well organised now, which was evident in their win over the Phoenix on Sunday, so they’ll be tough to crack. Chris is an international coach and has a superb record at this level so I’ll enjoy pitting my skills against his.”
Smith has something of a rallying cry for local fans. “I hope we get a decent crowd in on Thursday. With what’s at stake for both sides this match has the makings of a classic. The support helps and the players appreciate and respond to it.”