Football: Invercargill game for United

Richard Murray.
Richard Murray.
Otago United is spreading its wings as it looks to improve on last season's sixth placing.

This season the side will continue to play its home games at Forsyth Barr Stadium, including its opening fixture, against Manawatu on November 4.

It has seven home games in the two-round competition and its final home game, against Wellington on February 17, will be played at Rugby Park Stadium, in Invercargill.

Otago United coach Richard Murray said the team, although it had the Otago name, actually represented the area from Timaru south.

It was time for the side to get out into the rest of the region, Murray said, and the game in Invercargill would be the first time it had played a home game outside Dunedin.

A game will also be played against the Wellington Phoenix reserves, on a date yet to be announced.

Otago United's first game against Wellington in the capital will be played at Westpac Stadium, as a curtain-raiser for a Phoenix A-league match.

Murray said the team had been training for the past couple of weeks and had recorded good turn-outs, with about 30 players getting involved.

He is slowly going through the process of getting the squad down to the required number of 20 senior players and five youth players, who were aged under-19.

The majority of players were back from last year, although Harley Rodeka was one player who had moved on, signing with Hawkes Bay.

Murray, who is in his second year of coaching the team, said he had been pleased with the commitment at training and the side was looking to take on Canterbury United in a pre-season match in Timaru on October 14.

United finished sixth last year in the eight-team league. After an encouraging run before Christmas, it had dropped out of contention as injuries and player unavailability started to take their toll.

The league will once again be made up of two rounds totalling 14 games for each team, with the grand final - won by Waitakere last year - scheduled for March 17.

Winston Reid's West Ham might have got the better of Ryan Nelsen's Queen's Park Rangers 2-1 in the first English Premier League match to feature two New Zealanders but it was an otherwise unhappy time for Reid, APNZ reports.

The All Whites defender was knocked out after 20 minutes, in a heavy clash with QPR goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. The game was held up for five minutes as medical staff attended to him but he finally got to his feet and walked off.

Reid was later sitting up and talking in the dressing room and was not concussed.

The win means West Ham, which won promotion from the Championship last season, moves up to seventh in the league with 11 points while QPR is firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.



Otago United
Home games:

November 4: Manawatu

November 11: Auckland City

December 16: Waikato United

January 27: Canterbury.

February 3: Hawkes Bay

February 10: Waitakere

February 17: Wellington (Invercargill)


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