Suburbs' form is noticed
Nelson Suburbs' stunning turnaround in form and subsequent six-game winning run have caught the attention of the Canterbury United national league coach.
Player and co-coach Ben Wright and fellow striker Davitt Walsh, along with captain and attacking forward Ryan Stewart, have been touted as prospects by United coach Sean Devine.
Devine was among the crowd as Suburbs scored a 1-0 win over the previously undefeated Mainland Premier League leaders Cashmere Technical last weekend.
But for now, the Suburbs strike team are focused on one thing, a full-round sweep, which they can achieve by beating Western at Saxton Stadium on Sunday from 1pm.
In a remarkable change in fortunes obtained by nothing short of hard work and determination, Suburbs have gone from bottom of the heap to third behind Tech and Western.
Suburbs will close to within a point of Western, in second, if they collect all three points on Sunday.
Wright said that, with the effort going in from his team-mates, he would not be surprised if more players were added to Devine's list.
"It is good to see a couple of Nelson boys that he is after. If it was up to me, I would be including a few more names," said Wright.
"Winning helps. People always sit up and take notice when you start winning.
"Skippy [Stewart] and Davitt have been mentioned and quite rightly so.
"There is a long time to go before he announces the squad, and by then, there may be a few more Nelson boys' names in the hat."
On his own name being linked with the United squad, Wright, 33, does not feel confident his body could handle playing year round. A recurring knee injury may yet rule him out of the clash against Western.
"If I was going to do it, I would want to do it properly and I am struggling to play as it is."
Devine - appointed by Canterbury United last month to replace Keith Braithwaite - stressed nothing was finalised with the Nelson trio but he was interested in talking to them about a crack at national league football. "Davitt works hard and has a good touch and good vision and Skippy [Stewart] had a good game, as well."
Western were the last team to beat Suburbs - a 3-1 away loss in April - but since then Suburbs have been the form team in the league.
"It will be another tough one. They are a busy side. There is a lot of energy in the team," Wright said. "They will make it difficult for us and we have struggled against them in the past. We are due a win against them; hopefully Sunday is that day."
- The Nelson Mail