By John Donnachie / asbpremiership.co.nz
CHRISTCHURCH - Canterbury United's defensive worries continue with captain Dan Terris struggling with a rolled ankle, and utility back Nick Wortelboer already ruled out for Sunday's clash with Team Wellington.
Both full-backs- mainstays of the Dragons rearguard- have yet to don the red & black this season. And In light of a surprise 3-0 reversal at the hands of Hawke's Bay, Dragons coach Keith Braithwaite is keen to have both back in the mix.
“It is a testing time for us. We are hoping Dan(Terris) will make it. He rolled his ankle in training just as he was coming right. And Nick is responding to treatment on his hamstring, but these things take time. [Still] the guys that have come in are doing fine.”
Braithwaite meanwhile, was remaining coy on whether influential play-maker Aaron Clapham would finally link up with Cole Peverley in the midfield.
To date, Clapham has been employed as an emergency full-back, due to the aforementioned injuries.
It's been two weeks since the Dragons were ambushed at Napier and the intervening period of inaction has riled the Dragons camp.
“It's so frustrating, It's stop start. We really wanted to fix what happened against Hawke's Bay badly. And it has been hard trying to keep the intensity up during that time.”
Braithwaite said the Dragons supporters were also hurting. So there would be plenty of motivation come Sunday.
The Dragons coach is expecting a tough assignment on Sunday nevertheless.
“They (Team Wellington) have a new coach and have had some decent results. I believe at least eight of their squad is the nucleus of the NZ U-20s.”
Team Wellington come south on the back off a comfortable home win (3-0) over cellar dwellers Waikato FC, and Coach Matt Calcott is relaxed about the outing to Christchurch.
“We're going not too bad, you never know what is going to happen after this break. But we have trained well this week.”
Calcott, said he expected Canterbury would be “very physical in the last third” and his team should prepare for a torrid start.
“They have a physical presence no doubt about that. They will be right into it in the first 20 [minutes] I would say.”
Luke Rowe and Carl Williams are not expected to feature.
Otherwise, Calcott said everyone else was fit and available.
Kick off is 2pm at ASB Football Park.
Calvin OPPERMAN and Joe MURRAY.
Tim SCHAEFFERS earns a recall.
Geoff MacINTYRE and Francis de VRIES
Karl WHALEN and Luke ROWE are listed as doubtful.
Dan TERRIS (ankle) and Nick WORTELBOER (hamstring) are on the injury list but may face a late fitness test.
Karl WHALEN (calf strain) and Luke ROWE (rib cartilage) remain doubtful, although coach Matt CALCOTT is hopeful they may be passed fit to play by naming them in his tentative Match Day squad.
Wellington remain Canterbury’s ‘bogie’ side with the capital men boasting eight wins, a draw and a loss over the Dragons stretching back to 2007. That sequence saw Canterbury down Wellington 4-2 at David Farrington Park last season thanks to a Russell KAMO hat-trick and a Joe MURRAY strike.
Team Wellington remain strong favourites on paper and haven’t lost an away game to Canterbury since 2006 when they were beaten 4-1. They have since won four and drawn one of their last five trips to Christchurch.
ASB Premiership - Round 4
Sunday 27 November, 2011
1- Tom BATTY (GK)
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
3- Mark JOHNSTON
2- Tim SCHAEFFERS
5- Tom SCHWARZ
3- Jamie DUNCAN
7- Darren WHITE
4- Michael EAGAR
8- Aaron CLAPHAM
5- Nick BRANCH
9- George SLEFENDORFAS
6- Darren CHERITON
10- Russell KAMO
7- Wiremu PATRICK
11- Matt THOMAS
8- Michael WHITE
12- Andy BARTON
9- Patrick FLEMING
14- Josh SMITH
10- Dakota LUCAS
15- Julyan COLLETT
11- Tyson HOLMES
16- Joe MURRAY
12- Ethan GALBRAITH
17- Cole PEVERLEY
13- Karl WHALEN
19- Calvin OPPERMAN
15- Sam MASON-SMITH
20- Ken YAMAMOTO
19- James MUS
22- Adam HIGHFIELD (GK)
20- Luke ROWE
23- Louis FENTON
25- Scott BASALAJ (GK)