West Ham delay Reid's departure to NZ
All Whites and West Ham United defender Winston Reid missed his original flight to Auckland as he awaits scans in London after suffering from back spasms in Sunday's 3-1 English Premier League loss to Arsenal.
The All Whites are assembling in Auckland today ahead of their Oceania World Cup qualifier against Tahiti in Papeete on Saturday (NZT), but Reid won't be joining them just yet.
New Zealand Football chief executive Grant McKavanagh said the 2010 World Cup star was due to have scans tonight (NZT).
He was hopeful they would reveal nothing untoward and Reid would be on the first available flight out of Heathrow.
''We're very hopeful of getting him down, if not directly to Tahiti to play then down for the Christchurch game,'' McKavanagh said today.
''Winston wants to be here, he's just got to get through the scan and make sure there's nothing untoward in it. It's pretty positive.''
Reid suffered the spasms late in the match but had to play on as West Ham manager Sam Allardyce had already made his three substitutions.
McKavanagh was confident Reid would be available for both matches against Tahiti, the return leg being next Tuesday night in Christchurch.
Reid had indicated he wanted to play in both matches and if he couldn't make the first one but was available for the second, he would still be flown out for the Christchurch fixture.
''From Rick's (coach Ricki Herbert) point of view, one of the things we're looking at is continuity with this team, between now and next November,'' McKavanagh said.
''It's pretty important to get the unit together playing as regularly as possible.''
The last thing West Ham will want to do is release Reid under any sort of injury cloud but if the scans reveal nothing of concern, they have no option as the matches are in a Fifa window and New Zealand have all the rights.
Meanwhile, about 4500 tickets have already been sold for next Tuesday night's match at AMI Stadium, more than the total pre-sales of about 4000 for the match against the Solomon Islands in Auckland last month.
''The Christchurch people are certainly getting out and supporting it,'' said McKavanagh.
''To have that many pre-sales a week out is extremely encouraging.''
Two wins against Tahiti could secure a berth in the World Cup intercontinental playoff against the fourth-best team from CONCACAF (North and Central America, and the Caribbean) next year, depending on the results of the New Caledonia-Solomons matches on the same days.
- © Fairfax NZ News