It will be ten days between matches by the time Sunday’s ASB Premiership match against Southern United in Dunedin kicks off and now we have two southern excursions to look forward to inside five days. The visit to Dunedin is followed by a trip to Christchurch to play Canterbury United next Thursday.
Loaded WaiBOP United head coach, Peter Smith, has impressed on his squad that the 1-0 loss to Hawke’s Bay United was a timely reality check. “I don’t think we got carried away after the Waitakere win, but it was disappointing to follow that up with a below par performance against Hawke’s Bay,” said Smith during the week. “We don’t expect we’ll be at our best every time we take the field, no team will be, but there were areas in which we let ourselves down and we have to be better than that. Good sides grind out results. At times we need to concentrate on that.”
After such a big gap between games, Smith is hoping his players will use their pent up frustration to perform well in Dunedin. “Yeah, we’ve had a lot of time to think about that result, but we’ve also had a lot of time to plan for Southern,” said Smith. “With the TV requirements there will be times our season feels a bit stop start, but it is what it is and we have to deal with it. It’s the same for everyone. On the plus side it’s given the players a bit of time to freshen up, get over some minor niggles, so it’s not all bad.”
Smith knows how important this match is. “Just look how tight the table is, and we’re only a few weeks into the season,” he explained. “Every win is gold, while dropped points could prove extremely costly. We felt we dropped at least one point against Hawke’s Bay, so we have to go out on Sunday and make up for it. Southern away will be tough and they’ll be up for it after their win over the Phoenix. Like us, a win for them will see them move right up the table. So the pressure’s on and it should be a tight old encounter.”
We have an excellent record against Southern United, winning all four of the matches played between the two sides. Two goalfests in our first season (4-2 at home and 6-1 away) were followed by a couple of extremely tight matches last season (1-0 away the 2-1 at home). This is our fourth consecutive match to be played in front of the Sky Sport cameras this season.