Home team thirsty for win

IMPORTANT CLASH: Nathan Cooksley is determined for YoungHeart Manawatu to have a win against Otago United at Memorial Park tomorrow.
IMPORTANT CLASH: Nathan Cooksley is determined for YoungHeart Manawatu to have a win against Otago United at Memorial Park tomorrow.

YoungHeart Manawatu midfielder Nathan Cooksley is hoping his experience can help lead the side to a win when the national league resumes tomorrow.

Manawatu are winless since their 3-0 first-round victory against Otago United in Dunedin in November and have the chance to do it again when they host the southern side at Memorial Park.

One of the senior heads in the team these days, Cooksley made it clear there was only one thing on the YoungHeart players' minds after the Christmas break.

"That's exactly what we're after - a win, nothing else will do," he said. "If we don't win that it's a missed opportunity. We expect nothing but a win."

Cooksley has played 90 games for Manawatu and, along with captain Adam Cowan who has 140 caps, they have more than the rest of the team, so they need to show the younger team members how it's done.

"It's going to come down to us leading the team and making sure we set a good example," Cooksley said.

Too often they have made "silly errors" and let teams in but Cooksley believed if they cut those out, they can turn around their season.

The 25-year-old said they need to switch on for 90 minutes and results will fall their way.

Otago have been just as inconsistent this season, copping some big losses, then turning on big performances which saw them beat Team Wellington 1-0 and lead Auckland City 1-0 into the dying minutes before losing 3-1.

YoungHeart and Otago are both on the bottom of the table with three points but Manawatu are ahead of goal difference, so this game could determine who finishes bottom of the table.

Sam Redwood, Matt Kennedy and Khair Jones are unavailable but aside from Kennedy, Manawatu should be close to full strength.

Otago don't have their top side this weekend with Tristan Prattley, Andy Ridden and goalkeeper Peter Evans unavailable, while Regan Coldicott and top goalscorer Joel Stevens are both injured.

Kickoff is at 2pm with the Manawatu youth team playing Otago at 10.30am.

In other matches this weekend, Wellington play Waitakere United, Canterbury United host Auckland and Hawke's Bay United play Waikato FC.

YoungHeart Manawatu: Matt Borren, Liam Higgins, Wade Randle, Kade Schrijvers, Josh Chettleburgh, Nathan Cooksley, Seule Soromon, Adam Cowan (captain), Tom Mosquera, Tyson Brandt, Billy Scott, Jordan Martens, Dale Higham, Ben Wilkes, Grant Robson, Lewis Cumber.

Otago United: Liam Little, Ben FItzpatrick, Matt Joy, Morgan Day, Seamus Ryder, Victor da Costa, Ant Hancock, James Govan, Scott Gannon, Sam Mepham, Tom Connor, Tim Horner (captain), Geordie Mansford, Aaron Burgess, Jackson Mitchell.

Manawatu's record against Otago: Played 21, won nine, lost seven, drawn five.

Manawatu Standard