Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 1 July 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC will play Northern Rovers in Friday night floodlight football when the two teams clash for the second time this season tomorrow.
Rovers gave the Navy Blues a stern test when the sides met at McFetridge Park back in April with José Figueira's team eventually winning 4-1 but with the Adam Dickinson-coached side desperate for points tommorrow's game could spring a surprise.
Figueira said: "We've had an excellent week of training leading up to this game so we'll certainly have no excuses to not start well and try and build on our ten point lead at the top of the table.
"Adam and his team will be very motivated to go after three important points and we need to play on the front foot and play aggressively, certainly here at home."
Rovers are winless in their last six games but have pushed Birkenhead United, North Shore United and Western Springs to the limit in three of them which outlines how tricky they are.
FIXTURE CONFIRMATION - Auckland City FC v Northern Rovers— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) June 30, 2021
Details for the Northern League & U-23s games between Auckland City FC & @northernrovers available below
But Figueira believes competition for places at Kiwitea Street means the Navy Blues will be more than capable of meeting Rovers challenge.
"I am sure supporters have enjoyed most of the football we have played this season and that's in part due to the competition for places for the starting 11.
"We have good quality players available in every position and they've all got an argument that they could play, but they need to keep working hard, keep improving and that's what we want at our club.
"The Northern League and Chatham Cup are demanding competitions, so it will take a real squad effort as we look to continue a winning momentum at this important stage of the season," Figueira said
Adding further spice to the occasion will be the return of several familiar faces to Auckland City FC.
Apart from Dickinson, Rovers feature a smattering of former Junior Navy Blues graduates in Miles Palmer and Malcolm Young, while former goalkeeper coach Simone Naddi and midfielder Yousif Al-Kalisy were both long term contributors to Auckland City FC.
"Adam is a club legend at Kiwitea Street playing over 100 games for City and is he's fondly remembered after he scored a famous goal against Al Ahli at the FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE back in 2009.
"Yousif Al-Kalisy played nearly 50 games for our club, while Rovers goalkeeper coach Simone's work with the club's goalkeepers here is legendary in its own right.
"Simone was a big factor in Auckland City FC winning a bronze medal at the FIFA Club World Cup seven years ago in Morocco and he, like both Adam and Yousif, are always welcome faces at our club.
"Tomorrow's isn't just about rekindling old friendships, Rovers are a difficult opponent, highly motivated and we'll need to be at our best to come out on top," Figueira said.
Tomorrow's game kicks off at 7.30pm NZDT and those wishing to attend the match are encouraged to arrive early to obtain parking.
With the Northern League fixture scheduled for tomorrow night, the U-23 match between Auckland City FC U-23 and Northern Rovers U-23 has moved to Saturday 3 July 2021 at Kiwitea Street.
The table-topping U-23s match with Rovers U-23s kicks off at 12.30pm NZDT.
Friday 2 July 2021
Auckland City FC v Northern Rovers
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 7.30pm NZDT
AC( to be selected from): 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA, 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Adam THURSTON, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Reid DRAKE, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Deandre VOLLENHOVEN, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Brooklyn HEATH, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 19. Ilham HAMEEDI, 20. Addison STEWART, 21. Matt ELLIS, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
COACH: José FIGUEIRA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
TEAM MANAGER: Keith COTON
S&C COACH: Adria CASALS
ANALYST: Jarrod WALLACE
ANALYST: Dan GORDON
SATURDAY 3 JULY 2021
Birkenhead United v West Coast Rangers
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Bay Olympic
Hamilton Wanderers v Melville United
Manukau United v Auckland United
North Shore United v Western Springs
ABOUT NORTHERN ROVERS
2021 is Northern Rovers debut in the Northern League. As Forrest Hill-Milford, three league titles were secured in the Northern League Division One (2019 and 2015) and Northern League Division Four (1988). As Glenfield Rovers, eight league titles were won including three Northern Premier League championships (2002, 2003 and 2014), two in Northern League Division One (1996 and 2013) and three in Northern League Division Two (1965, 1976 and 1987).
Northern Rovers have never competed in the Chatham Cup before. As Glenfield Rovers, the furtherest they have reached in the competition was the semi-finals in 2008 when they were beaten 3-2 by Dunedin Technical. Forrest Hill Milford's best run was to the last eight where they were beaten by Birkenhead United 3-0 in 2016.
Auckland City FC and Northern Rovers met for the first time in competitive action on Monday 5 April 2021 at McFetridge Park, Glenfield, with the Navy Blues winning 4-1 thanks to goals by Emiliano Tade, Angus Kilkolly, Somali international Mohammed Awad and an own goal. On target for Rovers was Solomon Islands international Andrew Abba.
HONOURS (AS GLENFIELD ROVERS)
Northern Premier League winners 2002, 2003, 2014
Northern League First Division 1996, 2013
Northern League Second Division 1965, 1976, 1987
HONOURS (AS FORREST HILL-MILFORD)
Northern League First Division 2015, 2019
Northern League Fourth Division 1988
BIGGEST LEAGUE WIN (AS NORTHERN ROVERS)
Northern Rovers 3-2 Hamilton Wanderers, 2021
BIGGEST LEAGUE LOSS
Northern Rovers 1-4 Auckland City FC, 2021
BIGGEST WIN CHATHAM CUP
BIGGEST LOSS CHATHAM CUP
West Hamilton United 3-0* Northern Rovers, 2021
v. Birkenhead United (H) lost 1-2 (Jaydyn ENGLEFIELD)
v. Melville United (A) won 1-0 (Adam DICKINSON)
v. Auckland City FC (H) lost 1-4 (Andrew ABBA)
v. Auckland United FC (H) lost 1-2 (Adam DICKINSON)
v. Bay Olympic (H) drew 0-0
v. Manukau United (A) lost 0-2
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) lost 0-3
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 3-2 (Jason QUINLAN 2, Adam DICKINSON)
v. West Coast Rangers (A) lost 2-3 (Adam DICKINSON 2)
v. West Hamilton United (A) lost 0-3* - CHATHAM CUP 3rd ROUND
v. Western Springs (H) drew 1-1 (Francis CAIN)
v. North Shore United (A) drew 2-2 (Adam DICKINSON, Malcolm YOUNG)
v. Birkenhead United (A) drew 1-1 (Jaydyn ENGLEFIELD)
v. Melville United (H) lost 0-1
PLAYER TO WATCH
It should come as no suprise the player to keep an eye on is player-coach Adam Dickinson. Rovers top scorer, Dickinson played 106 games for Auckland City FC and scored 24 goals during his tenure with the Navy Blues. The Liverpool-born front man has scored six goals this season and is Rovers top scorer.
KIWITEA STREET CONNECTION
Auckland City FC welcomes back several familiar faces with Rovers goalkeeper coach Simone Naddi, former players Yousif Al-Kalisy and youth team players Malcolm Young, Miles Palmer, Jack Caunter and Regan Diver to the club. Yousif Al-Kalisy played 47 matches for the Navy Blues and scored three goals. Simone, of course, was the most successful goalkeeper coach in club history and was part of the City side that won a FIFA Club World Cup bronze medal at Morocco 2014.
v Al Ahly, Tangier, Feb 1 2023, KO: 8pm local