Otago United travels north to play Hawkes Bay tomorrow,
and will run into some familiar faces.
It will be hard to miss the ever-smiling Harley Rodeka, who
played with distinction for Otago last season but has moved
on to try his luck with the Bay, and so far it has been a
The industrious midfielder has fitted in well as coach Chris
Greatholder's side has moved up to the rarified atmosphere of
the ASB Premiership's top three.
However, Rodeka will only be able to wave to his Otago mates
from the grandstand, since he was red-carded in the 1-1 draw
with Auckland and has been suspended for a week.
Tristan Prattley will meet up again with Bay striker Sean
They played together in the Olympic qualifying series in
which New Zealand scratched out a 1-0 win over Papua New
The win earned the team a place in the London Olympics, but
Prattley had to watch from a distance as Otago's classy left
back missed the final cut.
A New Zealand under-20 and under-23 representative, Lovemore
formerly played for the Wellington Phoenix and Waitakere, but
this season transferred to the Bay despite living in
Lovemore will need some close patrolling by Otago since he
has scored steadily for his new club, and leads the golden
boot race with five goals in four games.
With former All Whites Jarrod Smith and Cole Peverley on
board, and midfielder Stephen Hindmarch and skipper Bill
Robertson teaming up alongside Danny Wilson and Aaron Jones,
Hawkes Bay looks an experienced unit.
"We believe Lovemore has a bit of pace, and knows where the
goals are, but our defence should be able to take care of
him," Otago coach Richard Murray said.
However, Murray makes no secret of his team's injury and
It is bad enough that mechanical problems have affected
midfielder Victor da Costa's knee, Joel Steven's dodgy ankle,
Regan Coldicott's shins and keeper Liam Little's back.
Defender Thomas Connor has not got over the bout of sickness
that affected his game last week, and now midfielder Morgan
Day appears to be suffering from the same ailment.
Late fitness checks will clarify United's travelling squad,
which heads for Napier at 9am today and has a long wait until
kick-off tomorrow afternoon.
Hawkes Bay claims it will adopt a more expansive approach
against Otago, and in reply coach Murray is looking for Otago
to deny space, earn a fair share of ball possession and use
Another goal by striker Aaron Burgess will help, and the
return of Coldicott and his penetrating wide pace should open
up space in the Bay penalty area.
"We are still very much work in progress," Murray said.
"But the lads trained well in midweek and are capable of
earning a result."
Otago United v Hawkes Bay
Napier, tomorrow, 2pm
Otago United: Liam Little, Thomas Connor, Tristan
Prattley, Tim Horner, Benjudah Fitzpatrick, Scott Gannon,
Matt Joy, Andrew Ridden, Seamus Ryder, Joel Stevens, Ant
Hancock, Regan Coldicott, Aaron Burgess, Craig Ferguson, Sam
Mepham, Morgan Day.