Otago United has added more depth to its squad by signing
Stuart Kelly, whose last club in the New Zealand Football
Championship was Canterbury United.
Kelly (27) was a youth professional with Glasgow Rangers and
East Stirling before moving to New Zealand several years ago.
A creative midfield player who scored his share of goals for
Canterbury, Kelly could be an important factor in Otago's
ambitions this season.
Coach Terry Phelan was delighted with the signing.
"He will not play this weekend against Waikato, but I believe
he is fit and has been training, so with his experience he
will add real depth to our present squad."
Phelan's job this week has been to keep morale high for
tomorrow's away match to Waikato which parallels Otago's
record of having won one match and has lost two.
"We showed glimpses last week against Manawatu of what Otago
is capable of producing - some very good attacking play that
should have earned at least two goals in the first half," he
"Our inconsistency and lack of concentration cost us in the
second half, especially after battling back to 2-2 with
minutes to go.
"We have had a good talk about the game, watched the video,
and hopefully learned where we went wrong.
"But the clock is ticking. There are only 12 games left now
that the NZFC has been reduced to two rounds, and we have got
to get points on the board," Phelan said.
With the three coaches, Phelan, Malcolm Fleming and Johan
Koutstaal taking separate groups and merging towards the end,
training at Sunnyvale has gone well.
"I could not ask for more at training," Phelan said.
"They are working hard, and having a laugh or two, just the
attitude I want. It's a good squad.
"We just have to reproduce that form in weekend games, where
possibly our senior players need to take a more dominant
role, reading the flow of the game and encouraging our
Consistent form by defender Colin Falvey and midfielder Barry
Gardiner has again been rewarded by them being named in the
NZFC Team of the Week.
Waikato will have a few familiar faces tomorrow, since
players such as Shaun Van Rooyen, Joe Simpkins, Nathan Strom
and Paul Stewart have also worn Otago colours.
"After our pre-season games against Hawkes Bay and Auckland
City our season finally got under way with a well-deserved
win against Canterbury," Waikato coach Dave Edmondson said.
The win came at a cost, however, and the suspension to Craig
Wylie is frustrating as he was starting to get match fit and
have an effect on games.
The return of Michael Mayne from his ankle injury will
hopefully compensate for the loss of Craig.
"I fully expect Otago to be a tough challenge, but one that
we need to meet head on if we are to be serious top-four
contenders. Having played well and created a number of
goalscoring opportunities over the first three games, this
Sunday would be a good time to start converting more of those
"With a little more composure and confidence in front of
goal, we can start to feel a little more comfortable in games
and to capitalise on the periods of dominance that we have
had in all of our games so far this season."
The match should be an even contest between two aspiring
Otago United v Waikato
Ngaruawahia, tomorrow, 2pm
Otago United: Liam Little, Rhys Henderson, Tristan
Prattley, Barry Gardiner, Colin Falvey (captain), Michael
Smith, Robbie Deeley, Tom Jackson, David Dugdale, Andy
Coburn, Aaron Burgess, Callum Flaws, Sean Brand, Tim Horner,
Waikato: Jason Mann, Joel Mathews, Ben Hunt, Graham
Pearce, Joe Simpkins, Paul Stewart, Marco Rojas, Stu Hogg,
Steven Holloway, Shaun Van Rooyen, Rhys Ruka, Sam Margetts,
Nick Robson, Jon Stables, Michael Mayne, Nathan Strom.