McLennan liking league’s intensity

Southern United player Tim McLennan pictured at Tahuna Park yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Southern United player Tim McLennan pictured at Tahuna Park yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Tim McLennan is trying to make the best of a late start.

McLennan is set to appear for Southern United in the side’s match against Team Wellington at Sunnyvale tomorrow afternoon.

McLennan (25), a Kavanagh College old boy, did not make his first appearance for Southern United this season until December following other commitments.

He went for a holiday in Hawaii and then had to sort out his job before he could concentrate on football.

And it was a steep learning curve for McLennan to get up to speed in a national league which has plenty of foreign talent.

"I’m really enjoying the set-up. It is really professional. They do all the right things in training and make you be as good as you can be," he said.

"It is a step up from the local league, just the intensity in the way the game is played. But that is good. It makes it more of a challenge and you have to be on your game the entire time."

He said competition from within the squad was bringing out the best in everyone.

"You go along to training and there is some real depth in the squad. There are lots of players who are going for different places. So you have to earn your spot and work hard."

McLennan has come off the bench in recent times.  He said that was about playing to your potential when getting on the field and contributing as quickly and effectively as you  could.McLennan was Dunedin born and bred and played through the local leagues.

He had a great season in 2017, playing for the Dunedin Technical side in the Football South league, banging in 18 goals in 16 games  but he is yet to hit the target for Southern United this season.

Armed with an honours degree in physiology, he  is teaching anatomy at the University of Otago but  is looking to head overseas in the middle of the year to have a look around.

Before that, though, Southern United will take on one of the better sides in the competition.

It is not going to be easy for McLennan and his team-mates tomorrow against Team Wellington, which sits second on the table.

Team Wellington is a quality outfit which managed to hold Auckland City to a scoreless draw last time out.

The positive for Southern United is  it  appears to have a knack of playing very well against the top sides. It drew both its games against Auckland City and was good enough to share the points with Team Wellington when they met before Christmas.

McLennan said the side, for some reason, tended to play well against  good opponents.

"We get into these tough games and find that we generally get something out of it. We dig in and manage to get a point. But we’ll be looking for three points against them."

Southern United can no longer make the playoffs but still has the pre-season goal of reaching the top six within reach.

Team Wellington has changed somewhat from last year’s champion team. The Dunedin connection has largely disappeared.

Former Southern United striker Tom Jackson is not over an ankle injury which has dogged him all season, while former Phoenix trainee Joel Stevens left for Sweden late last year to try his luck. Cameron Howieson had moved to Auckland.

Former Southern United attacker Eric Molloy is likely to line up for  Team Wellington  having moved to the capital in the off-season.

 

Premiership
Tomorrow, Sunnyvale, 2pm

Southern United: Tom Stevens, Conor O’Keeffe, Tom Connor, Stephen Last, Danny Ledwith, Jared Grove, Garbhan Coughlan, Danny Furlong, Tim McLennan, Andy Ridden, Hamish Cotter, Liam Little, Alex Ridsdale, Ben Wade, Andrew Cromb, Luke Clissold

Team Wellington: Scott Basalaj, Justin Gulley, Scott Hilliar, Mario Ilich, Liam Wood, Eric Molloy, Nati Hailemariam, Mario Barcia, Andy Bevin, Roy Kayara, Jack-Henry Sinclair, Angus Kilkolly, Ross Allen, Daniel Mulholland, Marcel Kampman.

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