No points from four games but new coach confident
Waikato FC coach Mark Cossey admits his players won't get a better chance to display their wares than in tomorrow's Premiership match against Manawatu.
Waikato will play at Wellington's Westpac Stadium as the curtain-raiser (1.45pm kickoff) to Wellington Phoenix's A-League game against Western Sydney Wanderers in a televised match.
If Cossey's charges weren't already motivated to impress their new coach in his first game in charge, the extra spotlight should bring the best out of a team that has yet to register a point from four matches, leading to the sacking this week of previous coach Declan Edge.
"The stage is perfectly set for them," Cossey said.
"They're going to be in the limelight and they're going to want to be playing well.
"But it can work two ways - they could be a bit nervous."
Waikato shouldn't have a great deal to fear from tomorrow's rivals, despite Cossey's side sharing bottom spot with Otago United. Manawatu won their opening match against Otago and have lost their next three, and while they're undeniably a more competitive unit than in recent seasons, Waikato won't get many better opportunities to open their account.
Cossey said he hadn't tried to change a great deal in his first week in charge, but he wanted his team to be more aggressive and more potent than the side that has netted just one goal in four matches this season.
"We've got to get it into our heads that we need to go out on the park expecting to get a result. At the moment, the team has just been going out there to play good football," Cossey said.
"We have to not care who the opposition is and say ‘this is how we're going to play' and aim to get some points.
"We want to take the game to the opposition and sometimes it might not be pretty. In the past we've played some really good stuff but we have to get the end result, and that'll be through sticking it in the back of the net and stopping them going in at the other end."
Waikato will again be without the services of unavailable defender Hone Fowler, along with the injured duo of regular skipper Adam Thomas and defender Tyler Lissette. Raymond How is expected to come in for Fowler.
Cossey may also look to change the role of striker Rory Turner by playing him in the hole behind frontman Sam Margetts, or utilise Jesse Edge further forward.