Southern Utd excited about playing in stadium

Rain is in the forecast but that will not be an issue for Southern United today.

The side is set to make its return to Forsyth Barr Stadium, playing its first game under the roof in 453 days.

Its match against Hamilton Wanderers will be the first of three consecutive games Southern will play at the stadium.

Coach Paul O’Reilly said the venue gave the side a boost and the team was looking forward to playing inside it.

While the quality of some of its grounds were not always of a national league level, the stadium represents a high-class venue.

"You’re not going to play too often in a stadium that good," O’Reilly said.

"It gives everyone a boost, there’s an excitement in the group there’s a real buzz around it, so it makes a huge difference.

"The ground inside is phenomenal.

"We had a look at it on Wednesday. It’s a world-class venue in every way — the stadium itself, the environment, the atmosphere of the closed roof.

"We had a chat with the groundsman and a walk through.

"They’ve done a phenomenal job; the surface is looking immaculate ahead of the weekend."

Southern is coming off a tough stretch and has lost its last four games.

It faced a difficult travel schedule last weekend and a shorter turnaround to prepare for this week.

However, after playing seven of its first 10 matches away, it is looking forward to four in a row at home.

First up is Hamilton Wanderers, a side which has impressed this season and is in fifth place on 16 points.

O’Reilly was wary of their attacking threat.

Being solid defensively and dangerous on the counterattack would be key.

A win would lift Southern to 13 points, leaving it well in the hunt to achieve its top six ambitions.

Given that equation, O’Reilly said it was a significant game.

"It’s a big game, there’s no point in us down playing it.

"If we win we go three points behind Hamilton on the league table and we have a game in hand.

"If they get a result it puts us in a difficult position because we really are chasing results then.

"So we’re not underplaying it, it’s a massive game for us and we’ve got to focus on having a positive performance.

"I think we’ll get a good result if we can do that."

He said while he has been pleased with many of the side’s performances, Southern needs to start producing some results.

"The desire and togetherness of the group is phenomenal.

"Results have gone against us the last couple of weeks and that’s what we’re judged on.

"So we’ve got to go on now and back up some of the positive performances by getting over the line and getting positive results."


National football premiership
Southern Utd v Hamilton W

Forsyth Barr Stadium
Today, 2pm

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