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Another tough mission for Waikato

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2013

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The reality of overseeing a Premiership side bereft of top-drawer players has hit home for new coach Mark Cossey.

After winning his first two matches in charge of Waikato FC after replacing Declan Edge, any doubt that the honeymoon period had ended disappeared last Sunday when Cossey's troops were demolished 9-1 at home by defending champions Waitakere United.

Since their back-to-back wins over fellow competition strugglers Manawatu and Otago United, Waikato have conceded 17 goals in losses to Auckland City, Hawke's Bay United and Waitakere.

Cossey has battled to assemble a squad with quality, quantity and depth following Edge's sacking, with several players deserting the side.

The Waikato side that takes on Team Wellington, in the capital, tomorrow will be further handicapped by the absence of regular striker Sam Margetts and bench midfielder Robbie Greenhalgh.

However, one bright spot last weekend for Cossey was the debut off the bench of new signing Gurjeep Singh, who netted an impressive consolation goal and showed enough pace and flair to hint that he may be able to make the jump to the top level.

The hosts have former Waikato captain Adam Thomas in their squad, but the New Zealand under-23 international will sit out the encounter because of an agreement in the transfer between the two sides.

History will also be against the visitors, who haven't beaten Wellington since 2008 when a Marco Rojas goal sealed a 2-0 victory.

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- Waikato Times

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