Words: ACFC Media
Friday 6 October 2017
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Beaten twice by Waitakere United in the ISPS HANDA Premiership the Navy Blues get a sneak preview of their rivals preparations when the pair clash at Auckland Grammar on Saturday morning.
Waitakere United beat Auckland City FC 5-1 over the course of two matches including the opening game of the last campaign in which the visitors won 1-0 at Kiwitea Street then followed it up with a 4-1 thrashing in the return when three Navy Blues players saw red cards.
Nearly six months on and much has changed for Auckland City FC with a raft of new signings including six New Zealanders in Kris Bright, Liam Graham, former United midfielder Dan Morgan, Owen Parker-Price, Callum McCowatt and Dalton Wilkins.
Jacob Spoonley, Clayton Lewis - who signed for League One outfit Scunthorpe United - and striker Joao Moreira, who looks set to sign for a club in India, have departed the club for new challenges.
A mixed bag of pre-season results have been collected with a 2-2 draw with the Wellington Phoenix arguably the highpoint of scorelines that included a 4-1 reverse to New Zealand U-17 just days into training, a 3-1 defeat to Canterbury United and the Steve Sumner Memorial Cup 5-2 thrashing of Hamilton Wanderers.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx said it was important to bear in mind the context of the results achieved as the countdown to the ISPS Handa Premiership kick-off continues.
"Pre-season is for tuning up our performance in all areas of the team so results are not the priorities for us although we are trying to compete in all the games we are involved.
"We've brought in a lot of new players and for the way we play we require a bit more time than if we were sitting or organising ourselves mainly on the defensive side of things.
"There have been moments of very good football and obviously we've managed to compete very well last week against a much more prepared Wellington Phoenix.
"Our ideas require time to be achieved in terms of getting the squad up to speed and we are in the process of setting those new movements in right now. Time and patience are always the key," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
Waitakere United are sure to test Auckland City FC to their fullest.
Coach Chris Milicich is in his third tenure with the club and the OFC Champions League winning coach will be eager to build on the rapid progress he made with Waitakere United as they finished third in the regular season.
Tribulietx recalls the two clashes with Waitakere from last season philosophically.
"They were two very weird games for us last season but that is the beauty of this game - it can still surprise you. Saturday's re-match is still a pre-season game and both teams are still underdone to a degree.
"We will look at doing things with and without the ball much better and with more consistency in a collective sense from our previous matches. We will aim to make better decisions within our ideas on a more regular basis in games.
"We've worked very hard over the past three weeks, our loading in training has been very intense and now we need to sharpen that up physically, mentally and technically with the playing system we employ," he said.
The match kicks off at 11am on Saturday 7 October at 3 Normanby Road in the centre of Auckland.
Saturday 7 October 2017
Auckland City FC v Waitakere United
3 Normanby Road, Auckland
Kick-off: 11am NZST
Sun 30 Sep 2018, Auckland Grammar, 11.30am