Hawke's Bay big test for YoungHeart side
While YoungHeart Manawatu will want to prove last week's win was no fluke, captain Adam Cowan wants to win more than most on Sunday.
Manawatu had their first national league win in 28 matches against Otago United last week and are away again to Hawke's Bay United at Napier on Sunday, the team Cowan played for after 121 games for YoungHeart.
"I'll be pretty pumped for the game, it's going to be good," he said. "I know most of the boys. I know their strengths and weaknesses. It should be an interesting one."
Cowan is friends with most of the Hawke's Bay players, but it will be different when he pulls on the YoungHeart shirt and, along with Dale Higham who also spent last season with Hawke's Bay, should prepare for a bit of niggle.
"You come to expect that," Cowan said. "I'd be surprised if there wasn't."
Last season when the two sides played in Napier, they drew 2-all, including a goal from Cowan for Hawke's Bay.
"That was when YoungHeart were bottom of the league.
"It's always a battle because it's a derby game and a lot of the players play in the Central League together."
Cowan's return helped the YoungHeart side break their long drought and after the win, spirits were high, even though it was only the first game.
"The boys are obviously happy to get a win after whatever it was, 28 games. A big improvement from last year and the year before. A bit of a monkey off the back.
"We've got a lot of hard work to do, a big test against Hawke's Bay, one of the so-called top four teams."
Not too many people would have expected YoungHeart to be equal on points with heavyweights Auckland City and Waitakere United, so the green-and-whites will have to win again to prove it was not a one-off.
All of YoungHeart's new signings, including big defender Kade Schrijvers, had a positive impact last week.
Like Manawatu, Hawke's Bay have recruited well this season and will not be as easy to beat as Otago.
YoungHeart last beat Hawke's Bay in 2009, when they won 1-0 at Memorial Park, but they are confident after last week's historic win.
Former captain Nathan Cooksley rejoins Manawatu, having missed last week through suspension and with 84 caps for Manawatu, his experience will be a big help.
Matt Kennedy and Michael Fraser are still in the injury ward so it is an otherwise unchanged squad from last weekend's.
Last week Hawke's Bay beat Waikato FC 2-0. Manawatu: Matt Borren, Liam Higgins, Sam Redwood, Kade Schrijvers, Josh Chettleburgh, Nathan Cooksley, Grant Robson, Adam Cowan (captain), Tom Mosquera, Dale Higham, Seule Soromon, Andrew Frampton, Jordan Martens, Billy Scott, Tyson Brandt, Ben Wilkes.
Hawke's Bay: Richard Gillespie, Aaron Jones, Danny Wilson, Bill Robertson, Stephen Hindmarch, Matt Hastings, Cole Peverley, Jarrod Smith, Stephen Hoyle, Conor Tinnion, Harley Rodeka, Sean Lovemore, Fergus Neil, Rudi Bauerfiend, Luke Chapman, Tui Kennedy, Danyon Drake.