Wellington Phoenix U-20 will have consistency on the mind in their Stirling Sports Premiership match against Canterbury United at English Park on Sunday.
Traveling outside of Wellington for the first time this season, Head Coach Andy Hedge isn’t expecting any favours as his side descends on The Garden City.
“It’s going to be a tough one that’s for sure, it always traditionally is down in Christchurch. Willy [Gerdsen] has built a good mix of experienced players from the Christchurch area and also some young ones coming through,” Hedge said.
“They [Canterbury United] have some tough players that will give our boys a good run around.”
Despite missing some regulars, who have been called into the first team to fill the void of All Whites representatives, the Nix U-20 boss is confident his young group of players can keep standing up to the rigours of the Stirling Sports Premiership.
“We’re really happy. I think all three games we have played so far have been really close which is probably the most important thing for us in terms of performances,” the Head Coach added.
“There’s things that we obviously need to work on week in, week out. We particularly want to improve when we’re in possession but the way the young lads especially have stood up and fought is really pleasing to see.”
With recent focus centred on Max Mata who has scored the side’s last three goals in the competition, Hedge also praised other players who have contributed to his side’s impressive creation of chances in front of goal this season.
“Obviously he [Max Mata] has scored some goals which is his main job but I think other players around him are helping him create those openings including Joe Bell, Oliver Whyte and Willem Ebbinge have really impressed us this year,” Hedge said.
“The players really look like they’re getting used to this level and now we’re looking for consistency from them.
“It really matters that they can stamp their dominance with the ball more often than not.”
The Head Coach believes that a solid defensive display will be the key to unravelling Canterbury’s unbeaten run in the Stirling Sports Premiership so far this season.
“I think we’ve proven that we can score goals but it’s always been a case of whether we can keep a clean sheet,” Hedge said.
“This year we have obviously defended very well and this will be our focus going into the game.”
Stirling Sports Premiership – Round 4
Sunday, 13 November 2016
Canterbury United v Wellington Phoenix U-20
English Park, Christchurch
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Wellington Phoenix U-20: 1. Keegan SMITH (GK), 26. Jack HENRY-SINCLAIR, 27. Joe BELL, 28. Max MATA, 29. Liam WOOD, 30. Dylan BENNETT (GK), 32. Jake WILLIAMS, 34. Benjamin MATA, 35. Matthew CONROY, 36. Oliver WHYTE, 37. Liberato CACACE, 38. Ruairi CAHILL-FLEURY, 40. Luke JOHNSON, 41. Willem EBBINGE, 42. Luke TONGUE