Kibby's return a boost

>TONY BIRD
Last updated 05:00 30/06/2012

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Former national under-17 representative Stephen Kibby will make his season debut for Team Taranaki against competition high flyers Red Sox in Palmerston North today.

The former Francis Douglas Memorial College pupil, back in New Plymouth on a short stay, was a member of the preliminary squad of 32 for the national under-23 squad earlier this year.

"Stephen is back in town for a while, keen to play football and passionate about representing the province," said Team Taranaki coach Ian McGrath, who contacted Kibby last weekend and organised a short term signing for the composite side.

Kibby, a midfielder, last played for Team Taranaki in 2010 and represented New Zealand in 2009 at the under-17 World Cup in Nigeria.

"Stephen is a tremendously influential footballer and the opportunity to involve someone even on a temporary basis was a no-brainer," McGrath said yesterday.

"He is a major boost for the squad."

Kibby's inclusion comes at a crucial time for Team Taranaki, who are fourth on the standings and face their toughest test of the second round after four consecutive wins against bottom four teams.

They will be without midfielder Bjorn Vossen for the rest of the season after the former Waikato age group representative quit his hotel management studies and headed home to Matamata.

Filling the gap created by Vossen's departure today will be Moturoa player-coach Scott Manson, a versatile player who brings maturity to the side.

Team Taranaki have lost their last three matches against Red Sox by one goal.

Today's match has been transferred to Memorial Park, and Red Sox have played only one game in the last three weeks because of two postponements.

McGrath is hoping the interruptions to Red Sox's campaign will give his team a winning edge.

The match starts at 2.30pm.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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