By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - Nobody is likely to forget the last time Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott brought a team to play at Kiwitea Street in Sandringham.
He was coaching Wellington club side Western Suburbs against Central United in the 2007 Chatham Cup final.
The score was 0-0 after extra time and after two and a half hours Central finally won 10-9 on penalties.
Calcott, who once lived in Sandringham Road, returns on Sunday in his first season in charge of the ASB Premiership contenders from the capital.
They drew their first game against Otago, coming back from an early two-goal deficit, and approach the clash with Auckland City in a positive frame of mind.
Last season they lost the second leg of a Premiership semifinal 5-1 at the ground, when they were chasing goals to wipe out a first-leg deficit. But many of that side have moved on.
“We have a lot of young players and there’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm about the place,” said Calcott.
“I’m positive about the game and maybe this time we don’t have players who have a mental block about coming north.
“It’s been a little bit disruptive this week with five players away in Auckland at the Olympic camp. But that’s fine. It’s good for the players and we have to deal with it. We’ll have a team session on Saturday to prepare for Sunday.”
One player who could have been with the Olympic prospects is latest recruit Luke Rowe, who played for the Junior All Whites in the FIFA U-20 World Cup and comes from the Birmingham City youth programme.
The left back, who has been living in England, has had a week to get to know his new coach and team-mates in his father’s home city.
Auckland City, preparing for another tilt at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan next month, are in impressive form after travelling to Honiara last weekend to beat Solomon Islands team Koloale 3-1 in a first-round O-League fixture.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx was very satisfied with the result and the way his team played in trying conditions.
“It’s not easy away in the Solomons. They have a lot of talented players and it’s tough and hard for us. But we really prevented them from creating any chances and at the other end we made a lot of chances for ourselves.
“It was another step on our way to Japan. We’re getting better every week and lifting the quality of the squad. Wellington is another game and we want to win every game. That’s our philosophy.”
Auckland have had six players with the Olympic camp and they also have a friendly against the New Zealand U-23s this week.
Tribulietx is nursing his star Spanish signing, Andreu, back to form after a limited pre-season.
The former Barcelona B player, most recently playing in Poland, came off the bench against Koloale.
Fellow Spaniard Manel Exposito is in goal-scoring form with two in the 5-1 opening Premiership victory against Waikato and two more against Koloale.
Adam McGEORGE, Simon ARMS, Andreu GURAO, Adam DICKINSON and Angel BERLANGA are included in the squad.
Former Birmingham City defender Luke ROWE is in line for a competitive debut for Team Wellington and could be joined by former Wellington Phoenix player James MUSA.
James PRITCHETT, Sam CAMPBELL, Liam ANDERSON are not selected.
Daniel CLARKE is not selected for this match.
Manel EXPOSITO and Luis CORRALES have scored against Team Wellington in three consecutive matches.
Dakota LUCAS’s transfer from Waitakere United is completed and the livewire frontman goes straight into Matt CALCOTT’s squad.
Auckland City have won five and drawn one of their previous six encounters with Team Wellington scoring thirteen goals and conceding two.
Team Wellington’s last victory over Auckland City away from home was a 3-1 win inspired by Andy BARRON, Graham LITTLE and Luis CORRALES in 2008-09 season.
ASB Premiership - Round 2
Sunday 6 November, 2011
1- Jacob SPOONLEY (GK)
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
3- Ian HOGG
2- Tim SCHAEFFERS
5- Angel BERLANGA
3- Jamie DUNCAN
6- Chad COOMBES
4- Michael EAGAR
8- David MULLIGAN
5- Nick BRANCH
9- Manel EXPOSITO
6- Darren CHERITON
10- Luis CORRALES
7- Wiremu PATRICK
11- Daniel KOPRIVCIC
8- Michael WHITE
13- Alex FENERIDIS
9- Patrick FLEMING
14- Adam DICKINSON
10- Dakota LUCAS
15- Ivan VICELICH (c)
11- Tyson HOLMES
16- Albert RIERA
12- Ethan GALBRAITH
17- Adam McGEORGE
13- Karl WHALEN
20- Emiliano TADE
15- Sam MASON-SMITH
21- Andreu GUERAO
17- Ryan CAIN
22- Andrew MILNE
18- Michael FIIFI
23- Simon ARMS
19- James MUSA
26- Liam ANDERSON (GK)
20- Luke ROWE
- Two to be omitted
21- Liam HIGGINS
22- Justin GULLEY
23- Louis FENTON
25- Scott BASALAJ (GK)
- Six to be omitted