Wellington not taking YoungHeart lightly
Despite YoungHeart Manawatu's lowly place on the table, Team Wellington won't be taking them lightly tomorrow.
The two sides pay at Memorial Park and Wellington coach Matt Calcott, who led the capital-based side to the last year's final, wasn't underestimating the cellar dwellers.
"I think it's incredibly dangerous to go into a football match thinking you're going to get three points," he said.
Wellington sit in fifth spot on the table, six points outside the top four, and although they have a game in hand against Auckland City, the pressure is coming on for them to earn a playoff berth.
Calcott said they had been through good weeks and bad weeks this season but it would still be tough against Manawatu.
"I think no-one ever could be so arrogant that you're going to go in and pick up points. It's a matter of doing things well.
"There have been some improvements there [from Manawatu].
"While they haven't picked up any points, coupled with us having to chase the playoffs a little bit, we've just got to be on song."
Wellington have a few injuries, as a lot of their squad play for the Phoenix A team and train with the New Zealand under-20 squad, but still have a strong side which features former Manawatu captain Cory Chettleburgh.
"We're missing three or four key players," Calcott said.
"That's a little bit of a shame, during this period, but we've got some able replacements."
Meanwhile, Manawatu will have close to a full complement, with senior players Nathan Cooksley and Adam Cowan back with the team after missing last week's match.
But coach Stu Jacobs was uncertain about making many changes to the side that performed well against Waitakere United last week, despite losing 4-0.
Top-scorer Tom Mosquera hasn't found the back of the net since round five but Seule Soromon has started to rediscover his former glory, with two goals since Christmas.
But it is the defence that has been paper thin this season, and Manawatu will have to change up a gear if they want to improve their average of conceding 3.4 goals per game.
In round four, Wellington beat Manawatu 3-1 after Manawatu was up 1-0 early, with Manawatu's last win over Wellington a distant memory four years ago.
Kickoff for the senior side is at 2pm, while the YoungHeart youth team will be looking to get their campaign back on track against their Wellington counterparts at 10.30am at Memorial Park.
YoungHeart Manawatu: (from) Matt Borren, Liam Higgins, Wade Randle, Kade Schrijvers, Nathan Cooksley, Seule Soromon, Adam Cowan (captain), Tom Mosquera, Khair Jones, Michael Fraser, Billy Scott, Jordan Martens, Matt Clarke, Sam Redwood, Grant Robson.
Team Wellington: Scott Basalaj, Tim Schaeffers, Darren Cheriton, Wiremu Patrick, Adam McGeorge, Cory Chettleburgh, Henry Fa'arodo, Karl Whalen, Luis Corrales, Tom Doyle, Luke Rowe, Justin Gulley, Hamish Watson, Tom Biss, Alec Solomons, Daniel Clarke.
Manawatu's record against Wellington: Played 22, won 7, lost 11, drawn 4.