YoungHeart Manawatu have been better playing away this season, and have the perfect opportunity to continue the trend in their home away from home tomorrow.
Manawatu are playing Waikato FC at Westpac Stadium in Wellington which is counted as a YoungHeart home game as a curtain-raiser for the Wellington Phoenix match against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
With a win and three losses this season, Manawatu's better performances have come away, with their only home game a 5-0 loss to Waitakere United.
"I don't know whether it's a mental thing, we tend to get on with the job a bit more when we're away from home," Manawatu coach Stu Jacobs said.
"We like to play at Memorial Park for the fans. [But] sometimes we have those mental blocks and for whatever reason we seem to button off a wee bit at home.
"[We have] more instinct and focus away from home. We'd like to get this one under our belt and go back to Memorial Park with six points."
In their away games this year YoungHeart beat Otago 3-0, lost to Hawke's Bay 4-2, where they were down 3-0 at halftime, and Team Wellington 3-1, where they were level 1-all at the break.
Jacobs said the team spoke about putting together a second-half performance after last week when Wellington scored three goals in the last 50 minutes of the match.
He believed they put a lot of pressure on themselves and wanted to improve at home.
The game is also a perfect opportunity for their second win, with Manawatu finding themselves in the rare situation of being the favourite despite coming off three losses in a row.
Waikato have been in poor form this year with four losses and sacked their coach Declan Edge this week.
"It's a winnable game for us, I think, which is nice," Jacobs said. "We need to go in and continue from last week's first half. We have to aim for three points nothing less, that's been the talk all week."
He said they knew they couldn't afford to slacken off and if they put it together they could do well against a rudderless Waikato team who seem to be in a similar situation as YoungHeart were last year.
Another incentive for players to put their hand up is the game will be live on Sky Sport 1.
Khair Jones is out with an ankle injury but Michael Fraser has finally recovered from a groin strain so Manawatu is near full strength.
Kickoff is at 1.45pm.
YoungHeart Manawatu: Matt Borren, Lewis Cumber, Kade Schrijvers, Sam Redwood, Liam Higgins, Matt Kennedy, Nathan Cooksley, Josh Chettleburgh, Adam Cowan, Tom Mosquera, Grant Robson. Reserves: Tyson Brandt, Billy Scott, Jordan Martens, Ben Wilkes, Souleymane Cissoko.
Waikato FC (from): Matt Upton, Josh Greene, Eder Franchini, Sam Jasper (captain), Ryan Thomas, Baily Webster, Rory Turner, Jack Hobson-McVeigh, Neil Mouncher, Sam Margetts, Jesse Edge, Mohamad Awad, Alexi Varela, Raymond How, Hone Fowler, Adam Wallis.
- The Manawatu Standard
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