Solomons skipper joins Team Wellington

PIGGYBACK RIDE: Team Wellington's Patrick Fleming and team-mate Dakota Lucas (on his back) celebrates after scoring a goal.
PIGGYBACK RIDE: Team Wellington's Patrick Fleming and team-mate Dakota Lucas (on his back) celebrates after scoring a goal.

Team Wellington are poised to pull a rabbit out of their hat this week with the signing of Solomon Islands captain Henry Fa'arodo.

Matt Calcott's young squad lie fourth in the ASB Premiership after yesterday's 1-1 draw with pacesetters Auckland City and it is hoped the addition of Fa'arodo will provide some crucial goalscoring punch in the run into the playoffs.

"We're just waiting on some paperwork but he's another exciting prospect and that's hopefully going to be the difference come playoff time," Calcott said.

"He's good friends with Michael Fifii [another Wellington player from the Solomons] as well so we asked the question. I think we've sorted out a lot of defensive frailties but up the top we need to be attacking all the time and be a real threat."

Fa'arodo has been a prolific goalscorer in both Australian and New Zealand leagues and lined up for the Perth Glory 11 times in the 2005-06 A-League.

There has already been plenty of chopping and changing within the Wellington squad this season.

Gone are Tyson Holmes, who has returned to Australia to work in the mines, Nick Branch, ruled out for the season with concussion, Michael White, who has switched to Canterbury United, while Ryan Cain and George Barbarouses have drifted off the scene.

Calcott was also without suspended pair Michael Eagar and Tim Schaeffers yesterday, with Ricky Zucco and Johnny Raj the two new faces gracing Newtown Park.

Zucco, an Australian striker who is trialling with the Wellington Phoenix, was kept quiet by Ivan Vicelich and the City defence, but Raj, a New Zealand Olympic hopeful, looked a good athlete on debut at centre back.

Wellington's Patrick Fleming opened the scoring in the 18th minute by striking a screamer from long-range into the top-right of the net, but the hosts went to sleep as City's Spanish star Manel Exposito equalised just a minute later.

"It is easy for a bunch of 19, 20-year-olds to kind of drop their heads, especially after conceding so quickly after our first goal but I am really proud of their attitude," Calcott said. "We're coming on strong."

Elsewhere, third-placed Canterbury beat Waikato FC 3-0, Waitakere United thumped Otago United 5-0 to take over second spot on goal differential. while Hawke's Bay United proved too strong for Stu Jacobs' hapless Manawatu, winning 5-0.