Gutted side hopes to carry on regardless
A week off may prove more of a hindrance than a walkout of eight players for Waikato FC tomorrow.
Mark Cossey's side will chase a second successive ASB Premiership victory in Dunedin, against Otago United, after breaking their duck for the 2012/13 campaign with a 3-2 win over Manawatu at the start of the month.
Auckland City's participation in the World Club Champs in Japan meant Waikato were forced to cool their heels last weekend instead of trying to build on the victory that came after the dismissal of former coach Declan Edge.
This week, Cossey had to deal with the disappearance of eight young players loyal to Edge, who plan on following the coach to the Ole Academy in Porirua.
But he felt the absence of game-time was the bigger setback.
"We would have been better off with a game to keep up that momentum we had," Cossey said. Instead, he has looked to keep numbers and enthusiasm high at training by drafting in another crop of the region's young players.
Tomorrow's hosts at the indoor venue of Forsyth Barr Stadium produced a shock last weekend when they knocked over the more-fancied Team Wellington 1-0 in the capital and coach Richard Murray has not surprisingly named an unchanged squad to meet Waikato.
The visitors have injury concerns over defender Mikey Kramer but have Hone Fowler back to help anchor their back four.
Waikato and Otago share bottom spot on the Premiership table with three points from five and six matches respectively, meaning Waikato have a rare opportunity to target a second successive win. "I'd like to say yes, that's our goal," Cossey said. "But I know that every game in this league is going to be hard."