Mid-season arrivals give Nelson Suburbs a boost ahead of Western clash
You won't find anyone in the Nelson Suburbs camp complaining about the playing depth this week.
The Mainland Premier League side has welcomed back Max Winterton (Saginaw Valley State University), Zac Muir (Cedarville University) and Sam Wilson (University of Evansville) for Saturday's game against Western, with Ross McPhie (California State University-Fullerton) set to join them a week later.
Winterton has already featured for Suburbs since arriving back from the United States while Muir and Wilson trained with the team on Thursday and are available for selection.
Coming off the back of their first away win of the season, and a big Chatham Cup victory over FC Nelson, all of a sudden co-coaches Ben Wright and Steve Bignall have difficult selections to stew over on Friday.
But Wright wouldn't want it any other way.
"We've not really had that this season, where we were sort of scraping the bare bones together. Now we're going to have some selection problems, which is good. You want competition for places," he said.
Unlike the other three, Wilson has not featured for Suburbs in the Mainland Premier League but has spent three seasons in the Stirling Sports Premiership with the Wellington Phoenix reserves and Tasman United. The left-back is also a former New Zealand under-17 representative.
"He brings a bit of experience and lifts the intensity of training."
Highlighting their depth, Suburbs are also set to welcome back first-choice goalkeeper Corey Wilson and midfielder James Deehan after they missed last weekend's cup tie, although Omar Guardiola remains sidelined with injury and is unlikely to travel to Christchurch.
Suburbs are eight points behind league leaders Ferrymead Bays, and Wright doesn't want to see the deficit increase any further.
So that makes Saturday's game away to Western a must-win game in his mind, Suburbs looking for just their second win on the road in 2017. There's also potential to close the gap on one of the teams above them, with Bays meeting second placed Cashmere Technical.
"It's obviously an important game but we just want to string a bit of consistency together and have a good run now."
Suburbs beat Western 5-0 in their first meeting of the season.
Saturday's game kicks off at 12:15pm.