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Uncertainty lingers for Navy Blues

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 18 November 2016

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Uncertainty hangs over Auckland City FC’s Stirling Sports Premiership match with Wellington Phoenix scheduled for Sunday 20 November.

The Navy Blues won their last away game in the competition by 1-0 after they downed Southern United in Invercargill but, following the recent spate of earthquakes that caused extensive damage in Kaikoura and the Wellington CBD, the future of this match hangs in the balance.

The effect of the earthquake has been such that Football Federation Australia (FFA) has postponed this weekend’s Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Round 7 fixture between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory at Westpac Stadium due to damage caused to the venue by Monday’s earthquake.

FFA acted after advice from Westpac Stadium and in consultation with authorities in Wellington and both Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory.

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx said some perspective was required as the government and earthquake commission and those affected by the earthquake decided what was best for the community.

“Obviously, our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the earthquake and our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and their homes.

“There is some uncertainty about the game and so the most important aspect is that people are safe,” he said.

Auckland City FC have injury concerns ahead of the game with Ryan De Vries nursing an ankle knock picked up at training during the week while on the plus side of the ledger Mario Bilen returns as do All Whites Te Atawhai-Wihongi and Clayton Lewis.

Harshae Raniga, who signed for the club last week, is also in the mix although Tribulietx said some caution was necessary in managing his return.

“Harshae has been out of the game for a year with a serious injury so we need to manage how we deliver his workload.

“He’s happy to be back involved but it takes time for the coordination and fitness levels to return so we’ll be patient and follow the process,” he said.

Auckland City FC’s record against the Wellington Phoenix is strong with the exception of a 3-1 loss registered in January 2015.

“The Wellington Phoenix are a tricky team to analyse because they are capable of making wholesale changes to their line-up and they can adapt to a variety of ways of playing.

“They have some good young players to choose from so we need to be careful about this game,” he said.

The “Wee Nix” have picked up some very useful points with a 2-1 win over defending champions Team Wellington, a narrow 2-1 defeat to Eastern Suburbs AFC 2-1 and a 0-0 draw with Tasman United.

They were beaten heavily by Canterbury United 4-1 at English Park in Christchurch last week.

The match kicks off at David Farrington Park on Sunday 20 November at 2.00pm.

Ends

Match Details
Sunday 20 November, 2016
Stirling Sports Premiership
Wellington Phoenix v Auckland City FC
David Farrington Park, Wellington
Kick-off: 2pm NZST
#WPvAC

AC (from): Enaut Zubikarai (GK), Takuya Iwata, Angela Berlanga, Harry Edge, Reid Drake, Darren White, Nicolai Berry, Albert Riera, Dae Wook Kim, Emiliano Tade, Joao Moreira, Alfie Rogers, Micah Lea'alafa, Marko Dordevic, Danyon Drake (GK), Jacob Spoonley (GK), Fabrizio Tavano, Harshae Raniga. 

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