'We want momentum' - Figueira

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 6 November 2020

Picture: Grant Stantiall

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC coach Jose Figueira wants to see momentum build when the Navy Blues take on old rivals Waitakere United in a pre-season friendly at the Croatian Club on Sunday.

The Navy Blues took Waitakere United apart 6-2 in their one and only ISPS Handa Men's Premiership derby last season after the return game was cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown last March.

Despite that lopsided result, Waitakere United finished in third place and opened up a five point gap between themselves and Eastern Suburbs AFC when the competition ground to a halt.

Figueira is a confirmed admirer of what Waitakere United have built under Paul Hobson following some inconsistent seasons over the past seven years.

"Waitakere United were one of the big improvers from last season and its credit to Paul Hobson and his team for putting together a strong squad.

"This year it looks like a team with National League and international experience with also a smattering of young talent.

"Its always a good sign of a balanced team and I'm expecting a strong challenge this Sunday and its the perfect challenge we want ahead of kicking off the season this weekend.

AUDIO - Jose Figueira Interview

Auckland City FC · 'We want momentum' - Jose Figueira

"I'm looking forward to seeing our team take forward the momentum we've built up during the week into the game with Waitakere United on Sunday," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.

Auckland City FC have their own objectives for Sunday's clash after a ten-man Navy Blues fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Hamilton Wanderers last weekend.

Figueira identified key areas for improvement and believes the message has got through to the players as the countdown to the start of the season continues.

"Like any pre-season we're looking for progress. I was really pleased with what I saw last weekend in what was a very competitive pre-season game.

"We've been working tremendously on the pitch as a group and the boys have got the bit between their teeth and are keen to build on the good things we did and polish some of the things we identified from last week's game that need a bit more attention," he said.

On the injury front, Mohamed Awad is showing signs his recovery is on track after a head knock while Maro Bonsu-Maro took an active part in training this week.

The news on Angel Berlanga remains more or less the same with his knee injury keeping him on the sidelines for what looks like an extended period.

While all eyes will be on what happens between Auckland City FC and Waitakere United on Sunday, Figueira passed on his best wishes to Futsal Navy Blues coach Nic Downes and his team as they head into the Northern Series in Hamilton.

"Its another exciting milestone for the club with the Futsal Navy Blues kicking off their Northern Series in Hamilton this weekend.

"Myself and the team want to wish Nic and the Futsal guys all the very best and no doubt they'll do the club proud and I can't to see them in action," he said.

The game between Auckland City FC and Waitakere United is set for Sunday 8 November 2020 at the Croatian Club and kicks off at 2.00pm NZST.

Ends

Match Details
Pre-season friendly
Sunday 8 November 2020
Auckland City FC v Waitakere United
Croatian Club, McLeod Road
Kick-off: 2.00pm NZST

Squad to be confirmed.

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